Yazmin's Cafe Madrid-Chelmsford
It was almost strange to find this little restaurant in the strip mall just before the parking lot to the Radisson in Chelmsford. We passed it while on our way to a children's holiday party and thought we would drop by after the party. Our 2 year-old was hungry and agreeable after the party, so we had lunch there. It was a nice atmosphere, with well-spaced tables. Bright and airy feel to it. It seemed to have opened recently with a bakery in the same strip mall area.
We all had a round of orange juice and they gave my DD a nice kid's cup, which was a pleasant surprise since most places looking that nice don't usually cater to kids. They had a breakfast menu, which included the usual eggs, waffles, etc. But the lunch menu was a great mix of tapas, salads, sandwiches and burgers. The flavors were not Spanish, but appeared Cuban, including some plantain tapas and a Cuban sandwich we did not try this time. We ordered tapas: Croquetas de Pollo (chicken croquettes), Gambas al Ailljos (shrimps with garlic), spinach and cheese empanadas, Tortilla Espanol (spanish 'omelette' with potatoes) and Madrid Soup. Everything was fresh and wonderfully flavored. The croquetas had shredded chicken that must have been chopped up after shredding. The texture was great and not stringy (which you can get with shredded chicken). I must admit I ate it so fast, I only know that the balance of flavors was great! And the outer crust of the croquetas was perfectly crunchy, balancing with the soft, shredded meat within, and did not have a trace of oiliness. The Gambas was a plate of about 8 large shrimp with just enough garlic and chilli peppers. The shrimps were fresh, which we could tell by the nice bite. DH used their awesome bread (pillowy soft on the inside, with a nice crustiness on the outside, served warm in the bread basket) to sop up the garlicky shrimp juices.The empanadas were FILLED with a mixture of spinach and cheese, though I did wish for a little more cheese. The empanada dough was thin and perfectly fried, giving the right amount of crunch to chewy ratio. Again, there was not trace of oiliness. Our least favorite dish was the tortilla and I liked it, but did not love it. Nice mix of egg and potatoes, but I did want more chopped onions in the mix. Most of the tapas dishes came with a little salad of chopped cucumber, onion, mango, etc on a bed of lettuce. Lastly, the soup was a brilliant, brothy mix chock full of chicken, pork, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onion.....served with a slice of their awesome bread. Looking around the other tables, I could see that the salads and other dishes were a nice portion. Even though our tapas were not the small plates you get in Spain, they were also not the huge American portions. If I head out in that direction again, I will definitely drop by to try more dishes. It seems like a family friendly place (as we were paying we saw a family with a disabled child being seated and they seemed to be well accommodated by the wait staff), and given the food, I hope they will get good patronage.
I've eaten there a few times. They used to be located a street over but recently moved into the current location. The owner is indeed Cuban. She used to be a buyer for Market Basket. Really wonderful staff there. I have yet to try their Cubano but I've tried several of their other dishes. The brunch is quite the spread - complete with a chocolate fountain. The chicken croquettes are pretty good. It's certainly a good option in an area with not that many options.