The Bottom Line
- Distinctive, flavorful take on Mexican
- Comfortable patio dining
- Affordable prices
- Uninspiring interior decor
- Paying extra for specialty salsas
- Location: 9 Northwest 9th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
- Directions: Just west of I-235 and east of Broadway's Automobile Alley district
- Phone: (405) 606-7172
Guide Review - Iguana Mexican Grill - Restaurant Review
Like most endeavors burdened by high expectations, there were dashes of disappointment. The exterior is a delight, a quaint, tree-shrouded building that shines among the historical buildings by the train tracks on 9th. However, the interior is far less interesting, with that hip, unfinished look so many restaurants are going for. Like the plates on the table, colors emerge on paintings from the brick walls, creating an intriguing backdrop, but the chairs are hard and uneven, the ambiance somewhat cold.
If weather permits, though, grab a seat on the patio. It may not possess the water views or downtown skyline of other popular OKC outside dining spots, but it is nevertheless wonderful. And when paired with the unique versions of traditional Mexican dishes, it makes for a very pleasurable experience.
It's a little silly that you have to pay $2 each for the 4 additional salsas (tomatillo, coral snake, citrus-habenero and smoked tomato salsa), but if you ask, your server will probably bring you a small cup to decide if it's worth it. That's what I did on separate occasions, and though I'd still probably favor the free, unfortunately not too spicy, house salsa, I found them very stirring fusions of tastes, much like many other dishes on the menu.
For example, get sides such as green rice, roasted potatoes or jicama slaw to accompany your burrito or enchilada with grilled adobe chicken in a sour cream sauce. Or check out the Iguana specialties that take the next step in flavor exploration, cilantro-mint chimichurri or chicken breast with chipotle BBQ sauce and pineapple relish served with coconut rice. The large flour tortillas are a bit much with tacos and other dishes, but the fresh vegetables and sauces make up for their relative lack of taste.
The service is certainly adequate, but perhaps the greatest appeal is the price, the additional salsa cost aside. At lunch, you have several large meal options that will only set you back $6-8, and dinner prices aren't a whole lot higher.
So if you have a taste for Mexican food but want something more interesting and flavorful than what you'd find at most places, get acquainted (or perhaps reacquainted) with the Iguana.