Last week, while lunching with my dear friends Lena, Anne and Joy, we stumbled upon a wonderful gem right out in the open.

I’ve driven up and down Sierra Highway quite often, but for whatever reason, I didn’t notice the sign that read “Sammy‘s and Carlos Café, Mexican Food and Entertainment.”

On the menu, it says the “best Mexican food in town” and let me tell you, this restaurant was amazing from beginning to end.  

It’s definitely a family affair, as the owner Alejandro, chef Carlos and server Elizabeth are all family. Elizabeth was so sweet. Even though we asked for substitutions and changes, she just wrote it all down with a smile. Everything came out exactly as we asked and that is true customer service.

The place is quite large and open, with a stage for entertainment (live band, DJ and karaoke) in the corner. The restaurant is a fusion between Mexican, Italian and American cuisine and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has weekend entertainment.

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what we ordered. Lena being a vegetarian, decided on the veggie omelet. Anne, who is definitely a meat eater, ordered the mushroom burger. Joy ordered the grilled chicken fettuccine Alfredo and I chose the daily combination special — one street taco and chile relleno served with rice and beans. We all decided to try chicken tortilla soup and honey BBQ wings for our appetizers. There were various specials on the wall and we chose the breakfast burrito for $4.99, which proved to be a great choice.

The restaurant has a cocktail bar and serves beer and wine, however, since it was lunch, we chose soda and iced tea. We were so impressed with the flavor of everything we ate, which was unexpected because even though this is food found in other restaurants, each dish had a different and unique taste. 

The chicken tortilla soup is one example. It was very creamy and delicious with a hint of cumin, shredded cheese, bite-size pieces of seasoned chicken and tortilla strips. Each of us had a taste, with me finishing the bowl. It was the kind of soup that makes you want to eat every drop and then order some to take home! 

The wings were fried to the perfect crispness with just the right amount of honey BBQ glaze on top. They were moist, meaty and a heavenly delight. 

The burger was amazing. We asked to have grilled onions and cooked medium, which is exactly how it came. It was fresh, hand-pressed and seasoned to a T. We just could not believe how delicious it was and I’m telling you it was absolutely amazing, thick, flavorful and very juicy. Anne and Joy said it was the best burger they ever ate and that’s quite an endorsement. 

The breakfast burrito was filled with cheese, potatoes, bacon and eggs, but it wasn’t over-powered by any one ingredient. You could actually taste each ingredient with every bite. The chef prepares everything as if it was a piece of art.

The omelet was fluffy with just the right amount of American and cheddar cheese marbled in fresh mushrooms, onion, tomato and topped with sliced avocado — a sight to behold. The home fries were cooked in a light flavor of garlic and onion accompanied by bell peppers, with a delicious outer crispness. 

We then started on the fettuccine Alfredo and oh my, once again, our taste buds were in heaven. The sauce was rich and creamy with a hint of wine — the flavor was just out of this world. 

The food was so good that we asked to speak to the chef and when he came out, Anne commented that she has been on quite a few reviews with me, but this was her favorite.

We couldn’t praise him enough for all the food we had the pleasure of eating. He’s been a chef at a number of restaurants and has perfected his skills to an art. We were pleasantly surprised and can’t wait to go back. In fact, Joy went the next day to have the burger and soup all over again, as she just couldn’t stop thinking about it and that’s quite a compliment. 

We saved the combination for last and what a great note to end our lunch. 

The Spanish rice was cooked to perfection — fluffy with a perfect balance of Spanish seasonings. The refried beans took us home with the delightful taste of bacon, which is the trick Lena’s grandmother used when she made them. 

The chile relleno was stuffed full of mozzarella cheese, wrapped up in a thick layer of melted cheese, tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream on top. The mixture of flavors made you want to savor each and every bite before going on to the next, but you had to act quick because the four of us were digging in. 

At another table, they ordered the whole fried fish (mojarra), which takes about 20 minutes to prepare. It looked and smelled so incredible. 

The prices are quite reasonable and there are plenty of food and drink specials: Buckets of beer for $15, pitchers for $10.99 and 16 oz. Dos Equis, Pacifico and Heineken draft for $3. 

The menu features a nice variety of food — pasta, burgers, pork chops, seafood, steak, chicken and more. 

Sammy’s and Carlos café is located at 42101 Sierra Highway, in Lancaster, just north of Avenue M, 661-941- 4338.  

Bon appétit!

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