Over the past couple years Sunset Drive has positioned itself as the new food-lovers destination in Waukesha. From long tenured places like Michael’s Italian-American Restaurant, Le Caffe Bistro, and Murph’s to newcomers like Pat’s Rib Place, La Estrella Bakery, The Spot, Panos Grocery Store, and Santiago’s Grilled Chicken, Sunset Drive truly has something for everyone.
I dad a chance to stop by Santiago’s Grilled Chicken this weekend. The new restaurant is located at 131 W Sunset Drive in the place formerly occupied by Big Apple Bagels. When you walk in you’ll notice the unmistakable smell of chicken being cooked over an open fire. Santiago’s menu is pretty limited. There are several chicken options ranging from 1/4 chicken plates to whole chicken meals. There are also carne asada tacos and steak burritos. I was there on a Sunday and I think there was a sign that they served Menudo soup on Sundays.
I opted for the 1/4 chicken meal and one asada taco. The chicken was very good. There was a very light spice mixture on the chicken, which was perfectly grilled resulting in a crispy skin and moist, tender meat. I didn’t specify white or dark meat so I got white. Next time I’ll be sure to ask for dark meat. Anyone can grill chicken at home for much cheaper so why would you eat it at Santiago’s? Because of the sides and sauces. The chicken is served with really good refried pinto beans, rice, and an excellent cole slaw salad with corn mixed in. The chicken is served with squeeze bottles of 3 very tasty sauces; a green chile sauce, a spicy red chile sauce made from (and I am guessing here) dried chili de arbol, and a cold southwest ranch dressing-like sauce. You can drizzle the sauce on your chicken or peel off some of the meat, place it in the warmed tortillas (served with your meal) and drizzle the sauce into it. The cool white sauce provided a nice contrast to the spicier red and green sauces.
I was a tad disappointed in the size as the carne asada taco, as it was made form a very small tortilla (maybe 3 inches across). The taco itself was pretty standard; meat, onions, and cilantro with a lime wedge. It was pretty good but didn’t differentiate itself from carne asada tacos you can get elsewhere in the City (and was not as good as the Tacos de Lomo at La Estacion). What made the size of the tortilla even more perplexing was that the tortillas served with the grilled chicken plate were the larger, standard sized corn tortillas. Not that $1.99 is expensive or anything but increasing the size of the taco would be a nice gesture.
Santiago’s limited menu and lack of Margaritas and beer (at this time) may not endear them to the typical person going out for Mexican in Waukesha but the tasty, chicken, attentive service, and casual atmosphere should suit them well.