Lava Cantina hits a high note with Mexican food, rock ‘n’ roll flair

Location of Lava Cantina
Location of Lava Cantina

If you enjoy both Mexican food and rock ‘n’ roll music, Lava Cantina will make you twist and shout. The restaurant features many televisions playing rock music videos (with a few country songs thrown in now and then) and carries the music theme to the decor with sconces made of cymbals and hanging boxes overhead covered in chicken wire with musical instruments inside.

After delivering our album cover menus our server started us off with complimentary chips and fresh-tasting salsa. We followed that with the rock and guac ($8.49), a large serving of delicious guacamole made fresh at our table by our server. We also tried the lava nachos ($11.95) with fajita chicken, a huge pyramid of chips covered in queso along with shredded cheddar cheese, pico, cilantro, sour cream and refried beans. These nachos were very good and very filling.

As AC/DC played “It’s a Long Way to the Top” we ordered our entrees. Among the seafood items and we tried the zydeco enchiladas ($13.95) and the crab cake tacos ($12.95). The enchiladas were four tortillas wrapped around a generous amount of crab meat and cheese and topped with a sherry cream sauce. Delicious, this mild dish was a contrast in textures between the sweet, mild crab and the somewhat crunchy wrappers.

For our fried crab cake tacos, we choose the flour tortillas. The cakes were cut into pieces and topped with lettuce, flavored mayonnaise and a good roasted corn and serrano sauce.

We also ordered the tour bus tailpipes ($10.95). The menu said the cheese-stuffed poblano pepper was fried in a tempura batter but this seemed much heavier. We chose the jalapeno cream sauce to top the pepper which was good but very spicy. We didn’t think it would be that hot because it had a “three guitar” heat rating and the salsa served earlier got two guitars and wasn’t hot at all. The fried pepper, the cheese stuffing and the cream sauce made this a very rich dish indeed and might have been better with either less cheese (another option is to order this stuffed with vegetables) or without the sauce.

Our attentive server recommended the backstage burrito ($12.95) and we tried it with the steak. The large burrito comes stuffed with refried beans and your choice of meat and topped with one of their many sauces. We had the sauteed onions and mushrooms — but no sauce — and enjoyed this dish very much.

For dessert we shared the lava cake ($4.95) and the Dr Feelgood cheesecake ($4.95). While the Dropkick Murphys sang “I’m Shipping up to Boston,” we dug into two of our favorite dishes of the meal. The lava cake was brought to the table on fire and was a big hit. What’s not to like about a rich chocolate cake topped with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream — with flames around the dish?

Scooping up the hot cake and the cold ice cream in one bite was really a taste treat, but we liked the cheesecake even more. It was like a decadent grilled cheese sandwich with the sweet cream cheese filling in between cinnamon topped fried sopapilla shells.

Carrying the rock theme through to the end, our bill came in a clear backstage-pass holder which was a cute touch. The rock-music theme might not be for everybody, but if you are a fan this is a fun way to have a meal.