Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Sea Breeze Mexican Grill (CLOSED)

1782 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124
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Photo of Sea Breeze Mexican Grill, Dorchester, MA It seems that traditional Mexican restaurants seem to be concentrated mainly in two sections of the Boston area--East Boston and Waltham--with a scattering of others found in various neighborhoods in and around Beantown. The sprawling Boston neighborhood of Dorchester is one area that hasn't much in the way of Mexican eateries over the years, however, but now there is one, and it resides on a stretch of Dorchester Avenue that is certainly in need of some restaurants. And this helps make Sea Breeze Mexican Grill such a breath of fresh air (no pun intended), as this little spot gives lovers of Mexican food a reason to come to Dorchester while giving diners in general a reason to hit this particular section of Dot Ave.

Dorchester Avenue traverses some areas that have a number of dining spots, including Fields Corner and Savin Hill to the north and Peabody Square/Ashmont and Lower Mills to the south. But there isn't much going on, dining-wise, between Fields Corner and Ashmont, other than a few watering holes and takeout joints (a few full-service restaurants fairly close include The Blarney Stone several blocks to the north and the Ashmont Grill and Tavolo a few blocks to the south). Sea Breeze doesn't look much different from the other businesses on this part of the avenue, making it fairly easy to miss, especially if you are driving southbound on Dot. Ave. The interior of this breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot is quite small, with only six tables in front and to the left, and a counter area and semi-open kitchen dominating the middle of the space. Attractive hanging lights, ceiling fans, and large windows that look out at the street--as well as various art and knick-knacks on the walls that help give the place a tropical/seaside motif--do add a bit of atmosphere to Sea Breeze, and the seating is relatively comfortable.

For those who tend to go to chains to get their Mexican food, some of the items on the menu at Sea Breeze might seem unfamiliar, and even those who enjoy going to traditional Mexican eateries may find some dishes here that they are not used to seeing. This is due in part to the fact that some of the recipes used at the restaurant are influenced by the cuisines of Jalisco along the west coast of Mexico, as well as the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. The mixing of these two cuisines results in a few more seafood dishes and tropical items than you might find in other authentic Mexican spots, though more familiar Mexican dishes can be found here as well. Starters on the menu at Sea Breeze include grilled plantains, a shrimp salad, chips and salsa (which come with each meal), mussels, ceviche, and guacamole. This last item, by the way, is actually made right at the table, with the server scooping out the insides of avocados, mashing them with a mortar and pestle, then adding onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers (which give the guacamole a surprising amount of heat), making for a fresh and delicious appetizer. Main dishes include a wonderful Acapulco chimichanga which is filled with chicken and red peppers and served with refried beans and yellow rice, soft and tender tamales that are not actually served in a husk (the shredded beef tamale is delicious; a spinach tamale is a vegetarian option), and chicken mole enchiladas with a mild mole that has a hint of cinnamon and chocolate (the dish also comes with refried beans and yellow rice), as well as steak quesadillas, fish tacos, and seafood burritos. For dessert, Sea Breeze has a terrific plate of papaya strips mixed with caramel and whipped cream on the side that is sprinkled with cinnamon, along with a creamy and smooth torta de mango plate that also has a nice amount of cinnamon. As of this writing, Sea Breeze does not have a liquor license, but the restaurant has some interesting drinks, including mango and tamarind jarritos (Mexican soft drinks), with the former being sweet and rich and the latter being slightly bitter and sour. Prices for most items at Sea Breeze seem just a touch high, especially compared to similar independently-owned Mexican restaurants, but the prices are not nearly as high as that of the newer upscale Mexican spots that have opened in the Boston area over recent times.

Sea Breeze Mexican Grill does not seem to be known at all, even among food writers, other media folks, and diners in the know. The fact that the restaurant has no website (as of this writing), no Facebook or Twitter page, and no online menu from any of the menu sites surely doesn't help, and neither does its rather obscure location. But this is a very good place, and one that lovers of Mexican and Caribbean food should make a point of checking out. The area of Dorchester between Fields Corner and Peabody Square/Ashmont is certainly not known as a destination for dining out, but this little eatery may help change all that once folks start to discover it.