Anejo has opened a new Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville’s Unity Plaza

Anejo Cocina Mexicana with its sister restaurants Anejo in Ponte Vedra Beach and the newcomer 904 Street Tacos & Cantina in Five Points is a breath of fresh air in the previously empty Unity Plaza part of Brooklyn. Anejo replaces Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and is located among the 220 Riverside Apartments overlooking Riverside Avenue. Updated to a Tex-Mex inspired motif, the decor is welcoming and open.

I met a friend for an early Sunday dinner and we eagerly ordered several items and divided them up. The menu is huge. It’s borderline daunting to a Mexican food lover, but it also means something for everyone. Our waiter provided some of their dishes which was helpful too.

Aside from the free fries and salsa, we first added queso dip ($ 7) and an order of the Cabra cheese filled jalapenos ($ 8). The queso tasted good, but would benefit greatly if heated longer to ensure an even texture and melt, avoiding a few chunky leftovers.

Starters at Anejo were high quality

The trio of plump jalapenos wrapped in bacon was a hit. Whole jalapenos filled with coriander-garlic salsa and cheese, then garnished with balsamic reduction and queso fresco (and on a bed of lettuce because extra vegetables) – yes, please!

Another highlight was the naked ceviche ($ 12): refreshing, light, and savory. Choose between fish marinated with lime or prawns – we went with prawns – served alongside tortilla chips in a wonderful bath of lime, coriander, serrano chillies, tomatoes, onions and ripe avocado.

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For the main event, we went with the Quesabirria Tacos ($ 16). This platter of three red colored tortillas with melted cheese, beef, chopped onions and sprigs of coriander is traditionally served with a broth-like dip sauce. Our tacos were accompanied by a thicker, mole-like sauce. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or not, but these fell flat. The taste just wasn’t there. The saving grace? The creamy, chilled beans and the perfectly cooked, flavorful Mexican rice (plus our leftover queso that we ate alongside).

Anejo's house margaritas, served with orange and lime wedges, cost $ 5.50 at happy hour.

The advantage of an early dinner is the happy hour! We went for a round of house margaritas on the rocks ($ 5.50) served with orange and lime wedges and just went downstairs. Too full for dessert, we noticed that on a future visit we should try the cinnamon sugar-coated churros ($ 7) and the flan custard ($ 5.50), one of my favorite kids.

An inexpensive lunch menu is available on weekdays and Saturdays until 3:00 p.m. The prices are fair: USD 10 for three lulls with beans and side dishes, USD 10 for Huevos Rancheros with Mexican rice and chilled beans, and USD 14 for a shrimp rice bowl with coriander rice and all the fixins.

The Quesabirria tacos are served with melted cheese, beef, chopped onions and sprigs of coriander.

Caron Streibich is an avid food lover who reviews restaurants in the “Life” section every two weeks. Follow her culinary adventures at facebook.com/caroneats and #caroneats on Instagram.

Anejo Mexican cuisine

220 Riverside Ave., Suite 103

(904) 516-7860

Side of the city: Brooklyn / Riverside

Type of cuisine: Mexican.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dinner Prices: Appetizers, $ 7- $ 12; Soups, $ 7- $ 10; Salads, $ 11- $ 15; Plate (with rice and beans), $ 11- $ 21.50; three tacos (with rice and beans), $ 13- $ 16; Fajitas, $ 15- $ 29; Quesadillas and enchiladas, $ 12- $ 18; Pages, $ 3- $ 4; Desserts, $ 6- $ 7.50.

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