By Kathy Kerby
Matta’s Mexican Grill remains a Mesa mainstay after more than half a century.
It is still owned by members of the original family and still offers a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter option, as well as call-ahead, take-out service.
Matta’s does not scrimp on its menu options – whether you take it out or eat it in the large, festive dining room.
If you dine in at the current shop, which opened in December, 2002, at 1105 N. Higley Road at Brown Road, the adobe-like walls decorated with Mexican art, arched windows, heavy ornate wooden chairs and Latin music cement the feel of authentic Mexico.
As a Mesa native, I have been eating at Matta’s for nearly 50 years. I am happy to report that the chips and salsa have not changed. The fresh, chunky-tomato and green-chili salsa with special spices is the perfect dip for the thin, crispy corn chips.
For an appetizer, the Sampler Plate ($11.99) includes four mini burritos (each with a different filling), two taquitos (chicken and manchaca) topped with tasty guacamole, a mini bean tostada, a mini ground-beef taco and ample servings of rice and refried beans.
It can take years to “get” refried beans just right and Matta’s certainly has mastered it.
There are several other appetizers, including quesadillas and nachos, and Mexican pizza from $4.99 to $8.99.
Sandy’s Special ($9.99) is a deep-fried burro chock-full of chunks of green-chili pork, cheese, green sauce and sour cream. Bring a big appetite if you order this, because it is a gigantic mound of delicious flavors and textures.
The Tostada Grande ($8.50) is equally salad and tostada. The big, fried flour tortilla is topped with shredded machaca beef that has been slow-cooked for hours, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and dollops of sour cream and guacamole. This is a perfect choice for lunch or dinner.
The Chili Relleno ($8.99) is “the favorite dish” at Matta’s and people have been known to drive (or fly) for miles just to devour this one-of-a-kind specialty. Only Matta’s stuffs the fresh-roasted, green chili with spicy ground beef before smothering the pepper with cheese and creamy green sauce.
Mattas’s Mexican Grill has a kid’s menu for children 12 and younger for $5.99, which includes a fountain drink. There are four desserts: flan, churros, fried ice cream and sopapillas, which range from $2.99 to $3.99.
If you want great Mexican food prepared from original family recipes and served with a casual flair, then Matta’s Mexican Grill in Alta Mesa Plaza is an excellent choice.