Menu Selections: Tequila Shrimp Tacos, Fajitas, Mango/Strawberry Margarita, Rio Margarita
This is a cumulative review from two visits combined. The first was over a year ago, when I was visiting on a Sunday night. The second was a recent "working lunch" meeting. Both visits were similar in the fact that the atmosphere is the best thing going for this place. Not only does it have a convenient location for the downtown lunch goers, but it is also great place to start off the night downtown, or the best/worst place to wrap up a day/night downtown, depending on your outlook. It has a picturesque sunny patio, complete with large umbrellas. In addition, it's fairly busy for the lunch crowd, so it has a happy and relaxing buzz in the air. Some nights (the night I went), live bands also makes for a lively atmosphere.
I would venture to say those that frequent here love to get pretty toasty. The margaritas are like Roofie Ritas: high in potency, lacking traditional margarita authenticity (rumor says they're made with everclear?) and high in sugar (so they go down quickly). A rather dangerous elixir for accidentally overserving oneself. Or purposely, if that is one's intent. So depending on your stance on this, the drinks could be considered as another thing going for The Rio.
The fajitas are just bad. Really bad. Like, on the same level of dog food, bad. I ordered the beef and everything from the flavor, the texture, the seasoning (or lack thereof), the leanness...everything...was all turrrible (note 3 r's). I ate it because I was starving and needed to in order to survive - to have something in my stomach in addition to those ritas. Which actually brings to mind another thought...maybe they make the drinks so strong to prevent you from noticing and/or tasting the bad food?
The tequila shrimp tacos were surprisingly edible. The shrimp was cooked well and served in corn tortillas (upon my request), however, the rest of the toppings were kept at a minimum and not that of a traditional Mexican shrimp/fish taco. Actually, it was just iceberg lettuce and creamy green sauce. Where's the cabbage, cilantro, tomato, onion, queso fresco, and avocado??
The service was great at first but fell apart at clutch time-the time when we had to get our bill so we could return to work on time. We had to practically chase her down.
Overall, the atmosphere and the drinks that get the job done are where it's at. I'd be back...if I had the intent of "roofie-ing myself", AND if someone wanted to go there, my arm wouldn't be twisted. I'd just be cautious and maybe eat before.
Check it out: http://www.riograndemexican.com/denver