Thursday, January 19, 2012

Red Habanero

We had a limited amount of time for lunch after getting hubby’s car serviced nearby and popped into Red Habanero because I had heard some good things about it and also because I heard it was taqueria style and so I assumed it would be fast.  It is kind of an interesting place because they have very detailed menu items describing some of the menu items, but then when you order them, they sort of wait for you to tell them how you want it made.  I appreciate that you can get it as you want, but just prepare yourself for that if you go.  
I went with a lunch special combination of a taco and an enchilada which also came with rice ($7.99).  You choose what fillings, etc. you want and I had a chicken enchilada with red sauce and a steak taco (they have 3 kinds of beef I believe—shredded, ground and the steak, which is like a carne asada).  Interestingly, there is no pork on the menu at all (that I saw anyway).  We also got some guacamole and chips ($2.99).  The chips were fine, nothing really special there.  The guac wasn’t bad; it definitely had more seasoning than others I have had recently, but nothing out of this world.
I really liked my steak taco though. I sort of ended up with a strange combination of things on it, because they normally put cheese, tomatoes and lettuce on them.  I asked for no lettuce and to add some onions and cilantro.  I also asked for some sour cream on the side (mainly for my enchilada) and he put it on top of my taco.  But the taco ended up being my favorite thing.  The beef is really good.  Really, really flavorful.  Oh, and I should mention the salsa bar where they have like 6-7 different types of salsas to try.  I got the mild and the medium to start, and thought it was interesting—the mild actually had more flavor because it was just more seasoned with cilantro—it wasn’t spicy, but neither was the medium really.  We ended up trying several of the others and enjoyed the tomatillo blend as well, which was more spicy but not too hot. 
My enchilada was just ok. The chicken inside suffered from being too dry and there wasn’t anything else in there to help it out.  The red sauce on top was good. I thought it had more heat than several of the salsas actually.  I just had a quick bite of the rice because it was there, but nothing about it made me want to eat more (rarely does this happen with me and Mexican rice though).
Hubby had the cilantro-cream burrito ($6.99) which was your classic enormous taqueria burrito filled with chicken and a cilantro cream sauce as well as black beans,  and rice and whatever else you wanted.  He also had onions and cilantro.  The burritos also come with chips on the side.  I thought it had a pretty good flavor, but again, the chicken was dry—although with the sauce, it helped a lot and I certainly preferred it to my enchilada even though it was the same chicken.
So I can see how this place might be a go-to lunch place if you worked in the area. I think you could refine what is really good (I really liked the beef) and put together some good combos.  It is pretty reasonably priced for a lot of food, if that is what you are looking for.  Hubby ate most of his burrito and was moaning about it for several hours after. And they have hard alcohol—which seems a little out of place in this casual atmosphere, but if you want a margarita with your food, you can get one. Anyway, those of you who are Red Habanero fans, I would be interested to hear what you order that you really like.
Red Habanero
4825 East 96th Street (and there is another location in Fishers)
Indy 46240

Red Habanero on Urbanspoon


  1. I've been to that location before but we prefer the one further down 96th Street by Beauty Brands. We love it there, and it's a little different because there are servers and it's a little more formal. They have nice booths and the bar has a TV. The servers are always very attentive and the food is good. We've never had the cilantro cream burrito but my mom loves the cilantro cream enchiladas.I'm vegan and have food allergies and they always go out of their way to accommodate me. Like most typical Mexican restaurants they have huge portions but the value is good for the price, plus they always have coupons available online. I've never seen a packed house there, which worries me because we like it and really hope the restaurant makes it.

  2. I've only been to the one in Fishers, and based on your review, it sounds different - it is a sit-down place with tvs and a bar area. I guess by "different", I mean "better" lol. -Shannon

  3. I was really surprised when their second location opened. 1, that it is just a mile or two East down 96th St... and 2, that it is such a different format (their first location works like Qdoba/Chipotle, the second one is more of La Hacienda/El Rodeo service arrangement - and no salsa bar).

    The location farther East on 96th St is more convenient to work, so I like going there every now and then (with a coupon!). My usual order is enchiladas suizas with corn tortillas (and their hot sauce trio, which is made in house - I try to remember to order it early).

  4. Red Hab is our favorite Mexican place in the area. They have corn tortillas, where I find many local Mexican places don't offer them. They also can make them "cheesy", 2 corn tortillas with melted cheese in the middle. I normally get those as chicken tacos. There are 3 of them, so that is a lot of food- I am stuffed afterwards! We have been happy with both locations & try to support them as much as possible!

  5. Erin--

    I wanted to drop a general comment on your site. I would love to see you do an "Erin's picks for Superbowl visitors" in the next week or so. Include a top ten list or somehing similar to help our out-of-towner foodies that are visiting our city for the big game. Love you site and keep eating!
    Andy G. Noblesville