Few dishes are more common across all strata of American restaurants than the Caesar salad. Did you know that it was created in Mexico?
We’ve all had one, but most versions served in diners and airport lounges are unlike the original. As done at Caesar’s, where it was invented, it is made to order, tableside, by a well-outfitted server who comes around with a cart accoutered with all the fixings. The recipe is no secret. In fact, the person who makes it announces each ingredient as he puts it into the bowl. Roasted garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, black pepper, Parmesan and anchovies are whisked into olive oil and an egg yoke until thick. The result is a light brown vinaigrette, a veritable umami-bomb.
The dressing covers whole leaves of romaine lettuce which are then topped with more Parmesan cheese and a crouton. This is exactly how Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini intended it to be when he created it in the 1920s.
Although it is original and authentic, we confess that we find it brash compared to salads that have been invented in last century. But that is what Caesar salad is. In fact, the dressing on this Caesar is good enough that you welcome the basket of fresh bread that comes with it for sopping up any excess.
The restaurant has gone through some changes over the years and was closed for a while until Tijuana’s big-name restaurant operators, the Plasencia group, reopened it, maintaining high standards of service and fair prices. Although nearly every customer does get Caesar salad, you could have a great meal without it. Even if you are just here for salad tourism, you’ll want to get some some other dishes, too.
The menu skips around from French bistro classics, red sauce Italian comforts, Spanish tapas, and a few Mexican favorites. French onion soup offers savory steakhouse comfort and the house raviolis with pan sauce are passably good. For us, a surprise favorite is a dish from the tapas menu called Huevos Locos, which is something like a Spanish version of poutine. It feels far from anything you’d find in a Mexican restaurant, which might be a relief for taco-fatigued Tijuana visitors.
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