Check Out What’s Cookin’ at Rosa Mexican Kitchen!
Article by Becky Creighton
Tucked away in the Safeway shopping center is Roxborough’s newest restaurant, Rosa Mexican Kitchen. Not only do they serve lunch and dinner, but they also serve breakfast. Get your burritos to go or sit down and enjoy some Huevos Rancheros.
Talking to the owner, Edgar Ruiz, makes you realize how passionate he is about the food he cooks. Simple, quality ingredients that he coaxes the most flavor from produces dish after dish of scrumptious food. When I walked into the restaurant Ruiz was in the kitchen grilling tomatoes, onions and jalapenos for his fire-roasted salsa. He was also making the chipotle sauce for the enchiladas, which, honestly, you could put that sauce on shoe leather and it would taste amazing.
The atmosphere is bright, fun, and inviting. Edgar even designed the large format wallpaper that adorns the walls inside this fast-casual, everything-made-from-scratch, open-kitchen restaurant.
When I asked Ruiz about his food, he smiled and said, “We use quality ingredients; ribeyes for the tacos, mahi-mahi for the fish dishes, and farm-fresh vegetables for the salsas, and pico de gallo.”
Ruiz started cooking at 15 while living in Alaska with his dad. His dad was a cook at a local restaurant and Edgar started joining him at 13 to wash dishes; he was happy because he got paid! After two years, Edgar jumped into the fray and started as most first-timers in a professional kitchen do, peeling and chopping onions, tomatoes, etc. Fast forward 20 years and Roxborough has a new Mexican restaurant.
Rosa Mexican Kitchen isn’t Ruiz’s first rodeo, actually, it’s his fourth and if we’re counting, between his dad, sisters, and brother-in-law, it’s about their 25th restaurant. In fact, Ruiz and his brother-in-law are opening a second Rosa Mexican Kitchen in three months up in Thornton, so it’s technically the 26th restaurant coming soon for the Ruiz family.
What impressed me most about Rosa Mexican Kitchen, other than Ruiz, are the flavors that he gets out of these relatively simple and fresh ingredients. Take, for example, an effortless dish to make, the quesadilla. Anyone can make a quesadilla, heck my sons were eight years old when they would make their own. But, I assure you, they didn’t taste the way Rosa’s do.
Ruiz marinates the pork in different spices and chilies to put in the grilled cheesy goodness. We’ve all had quesadillas but not like this. I don’t know what spices Ruiz puts on his pork, but it takes this simple street food to a new level. The flavors are complex: Pile on his fire-roasted salsa with a touch of housemade guacamole and you have a flavor party going on in your mouth.
What’s a good Mexican restaurant without enchiladas? Nothing, that’s what! And Rosa Mexican Kitchen delivers in spades. Remember that chipotle sauce I mentioned earlier? This is where it comes into play. Chicken and cheese enchiladas smothered in this creamy sauce with a little kick and sprinkled with pepitas are amazing! Ruiz creates dishes with great flavors and different textures so that every time you take a bite, you can’t wait to finish so you can take another.
There is another thing I noticed after I finished my mini-feast (being a food writer does have privileges), I didn’t have that “I’m so stuffed I want to take a nap” feeling.
Since Rosa Mexican Kitchen is a scratch kitchen they can accommodate most dietary restrictions, including dairy-free and gluten-free needs. And, they have what everyone wants – Taco Tuesday! According to Ruiz, you should prepare to wait in line.
We all know that living in the suburbs usually means that bland, corporate chains dominate our choices for dining out. How awesome is it that Roxborough has Rosa Mexican Kitchen to bring fresh, delicious Mexican food to our ‘hood.
Rosa Mexican Kitchen is located at 8355 N. Rampart Range Road, Littleton, CO 80125. They are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (They are closed on Sunday.) Call 303-537-4891 or visit www.mexicanrestaurantlittletonco.com/.