Munch goes to Si Senor

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Munch was once ridiculed by a colleague for eating one burrito for lunch and another for dinner. Such humor, frankly, is lost on Munch.

To Munch, burritos are like, well, apples and oranges. Only an amateur could confuse the smoky salsa-drenched offerings at Mexico City with the bulging forearm-sized cylinders at Chipotle or the dense and gooey-filled tortillas at Madonna's. They're practically different food groups.

Which brings us to last week, when Bespectacled Coworker Of Munch casually dropped a takeout menu for Si Senor by Munch's desk. Munch was familiar with the unassuming takeout counter in the basement of the U.S. Steel Tower, but had never stopped to sample its wares.

Munch can read a takeout menu like the more literate read, um, books. And, in a flash, Munch was struck by Si Senor's simplicity: Every entree, be it burrito, enchilada or quesadilla, costs $6.

Next, Munch was impressed by the menu's creativity. Entrees can be stuffed with a filling as simple as grilled chicken, or as exotic as black bean hummus or spicy chipotle tofu. The menu bills Si Senor, which also has a location at Carnegie Mellon University, as "your healthy choice with worldwide flair." Munch might call it burrito nouveau.

But how does it taste? Munch took BCOM and Speed Eating Colleague Of Munch out to a meal at the U.S. Steel Tower to find out.

Munch was immediately encouraged to see half a dozen people waiting in line at Si Senor, providing Munch enough time to settle on a California Wrap (steamed rice, avocado, lettuce and cheese) filled with grilled chicken mesquite with smoked chipotle sauce. SECOM chose the Classic Southwestern Wrap (steamed rice, black beans, cheese and lettuce) filled with Buffalo chicken, and BCOM walked on the wild side, getting his Southwestern wrap filled with the spicy chipotle tofu.

As it happens, SECOM's order came out first, and, true to form, he managed to inhale the whole thing before Munch was even halfway through lunch. But SECOM was chivalrous enough to pause halfway through to offer Munch a bite. Munch was surprised, but not displeased by the Buffalo chicken, which was creamier and sweeter than Munch expected.

BCOM followed suit and also offered Munch a taste. (In the interest of research, Munch did not offer anybody anything). Munch generally keeps it simple when it comes to burritos, but the spicy chipotle tofu blew Munch away. The burrito was juicy, the flavors complex and the tofu soft and airy.

Munch's own burrito was a little on the dry side, though the mesquite flavoring was appropriately sweet and tangy. Munch was distracted, however, by the absence of the advertised avocado and the presence of something that Munch can only describe as a tasteless seafoam-colored mayonnaise. Was that supposed to be guacamole? Munch was stumped.

Regardless, Munch would, and likely will, return to Si Senor.

Munch is sometimes jealous of those who work in the U.S. Steel building, particularly when it's raining outside and Munch has to venture outdoors to go to Starbucks or to the bank. Now, Munch has one more reason to be seafoam green with envy.

Is Si Senor authentic Mexican food? No, nor does it claim to be. What it is is healthy, tasty and unique among Downtown eateries. And to that, Munch says muy bueno.


Si Senor is located in the basement of the U.S. Steel Tower at 600 Grant St. Call 412-201-1811.


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