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Clear,63°
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fiesta time, all week long

Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant
124 Park Ave., Long Beach
(516) 442-4944

A burst of Mexican festivity greets you in every sense. Colorful flags, murals, vintage photos and artifacts abound. Music is upbeat, Mariachi style. Aromas are enticing, particularly from the incredible fajitas, which arrive sizzling. Watch for the comeback of guacamole prepared tableside; the server offers unique additions.

The Melendez family has owned Don Juan’s restaurants for over 30 years. The original two were in Merrick and Westbury, which closed several years ago. Now Don Juan’s hails from Massapequa and most recently, Long Beach. General Manager, Kevin Melendez, runs the latter seamlessly.

Lush with fresh fruit, Sangria is more like a cocktail than wine, with splashes of blackberry brandy and peach schnapps. Margaritas come salt-lined in exotic fruity flavors. You’ll enjoy your drinks with warm nacho chips and zesty salsa.

The menu is enormous, with over 20 starters, priced from $4.95 for soup to $22.95 for a sampler. Salads are $9.95 to $12.95. Entrees – fajitas, margarita dishes, specialties, seafood, chicken, traditional dishes and combinations – run from $14.95 to $24.95. Desserts are $4.50 to $9.95. Children’s dinners, which come with free beverage refills, are $9.95.

Crab rounds were light and crunchy, served with chipotle aioli. Cerviche de camarones – a chilled marinated seafood cocktail –offered shrimp, tomatoes, onions, olive oil and cilantro. Both the chicken and beef empanadas (corn masa turnovers) were terrific, sided with Chimichuri sauce for dipping. Plantains – sweet fried with sour cream, or the green variety with garlic sauce (Tostones) – were unique and tasty. Quesados are flour tortillas filled with cheese, guacamole, grated queso aneijo, sour cream and tampiquerna sauce.

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