Let’s Tango!

. March 21, 2013.

This past April, Tango’s Mexican Cantina closed down for a week, re-opening with a fabulous new décor, a wonderful new menu, and a new name: Tango’s Latin Infused Grill.  
According to Chef Jules Wilkins, the Latin infused menu represents foods from Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina and throughout the Caribbean.  “We (blended the tastes of) a lot of different countries together,” said Wilkins.  “I wanted to lighten everything up.” Tango’s kept its top items from its Mexican menu, but added an array of palate pleasing options you won’t find in other restaurants around town.  “We’re not copying anyone in Toledo,” Wilkins added.  The Cousino family gave her complete creative freedom and she has included several items she has always loved from her travels.   The Cuban sandwich is one such favorite she enjoys when Miami.  You’ll find it on the menu served on traditional Cuban-style bread with sliced slow-roasted pork loin, smoked ham, yellow mustard, sliced pickles and Swiss cheese for $7.95.
Wilkins said she recently had a couple in for dinner that was from Puerto Rico.  They ordered the Puerto Rican Tamales steamed in a banana leaf.  They told her, “We couldn’t have gotten any better at home.”   When I went with my family, we tried the Authentic Street Taco as an appetizer.  It was served on a corn tortilla with pulled pork, grilled pineapple, onions, cilantro and salsa verde.  My husband said it was the closest thing he’s ever had to the street tacos in Mexico City.  I loved it so much, I ordered one for dessert! Yes, dessert.  The coconut grilled shrimp served with mango-papaya salsa was another fine start to our meal.  
We absolutely loved the light, tropical flavors in everything we tried.  Every dish popped with taste, liberated from heavy creams, sauces, and oils. 

Wonderful view plus patio dining
Unfortunately it wasn’t quite patio dining weather when we visited the new Tango’s, but we had a great table by the windows overlooking the river and downtown.  The kids thought that was one of the best parts of the meal.   The lighting of the gas fire pit on the patio was a hit ­‑ they’d never seen anything like it before.  Of course, the 4 year old was absolutely positive it was magic.  They begged to come back and eat outside on another day.
For now, they were stuck inside, but did enjoy their meals for kids 10 and under for $3.95-$5.95, including fries and refillable drinks.  A nice switch from the usual kid fare were beef or chicken tacos, cheese quesadillas, and grilled chicken breast with yellow rice. Burgers and chicken tenders are options, too.
My husband and I shared a couple of the entrees.  You guessed it — because I wanted to try everything on the menu.  The Argentina Chimichurri Skewer was marinated and char-grilled and topped with chimichurri sauce served over rice and surprisingly flavorful Cuban black beans.  Never having tried a fish taco, I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh Red Snapper glazed with chili lime juice and served in flour tortillas with Asian slaw, fresh mangos, and yellow rice.  How could a combination like that NOT be good? Other unique options include Caribbean Ribs, Carnitas, Baja Burgers, Posole Soup, Jamaican Jerk Wings, Ahi Poke, and on and on.   Is your mouth watering yet? Have I piqued your curiosity?

Salsa SaturdaysIf the food, service, view of the water, and great new décor isn’t enough to lure you, Tango’s has a DJ every Thursday and Friday night by 7p.m.  Adding to the tropical feel of things, the music ranges from Calypso to Reggae and everything in between, accenting the Latin infused theme.  The music was a definite hit with the kids, and me too.  If only for just a bit, I forgot I was in Toledo on another chilly day. 
Keeping the fun going on Saturdays, they offer $5 salsa lessons from 9-10p.m. and then from 10p.m.-1a.m. Tango’s becomes the salsa hot spot.  Maybe you’ll just want to find a babysitter and come for dinner and dancing with your spouse or significant other!   

Bottom Line:  Without a doubt, it was obvious to me and my family that the Cousino’s and Chef Jules Wilkins had put much thought and preparation into the re-invention of Tango’s.  Great service, unique food, and a wonderful atmosphere make for a winning combination.   You can persuade your children to expand their horizons and try something new, too.

Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH.  She can be reached in c/o editor@toledoparent.com.