Drew and David Cardaci know their Tex- Mex. And the brothers prove the point every day through the smiling faces of the satisfied customers who have helped make their restaurant, The Whole Enchilada, a local success story. The original free-standing Enchilada, located at 4115 N Federal Hwy., has been a neighborhood staple since 2006, with the restaurant celebrating its sixth anniversary with the grand opening of its first branch store.
This new outlet is located near the Winn-Dixie store on Route 1, at 745 N Federal Hwy., in the one-time home of a car repair shop known as Ice Cold Auto Air.
The thing that makes The Whole Enchilada distinct from its many, many competitors in town is the incredible freshness that highlights each dish. The menu is Mexican with surprising twists in nearly every selection. A perfect example is the Black Tiger ($7.99), a burrito that assembles large grilled shrimp with chopped cabbage, caramelized onions, avocado, jack and cheddar cheeses, Mexican rice and chipotle sauce inside a whole-wheat tortilla. A spectacular taste treat. The Whole Enchilada makes this same burrito with blackened Maui- Maui and calls it the Not Yet Famous ($7.79)— with tomatoes replacing the caramelized onions and leaving the Mexican rice at home. Works for us.
The Fah-Hee-Tah Barita ($8.19) is sizzling hot with a combo of fire-roasted peppers, onions, rice, black beans, cheese, salsa, avocado, and sour cream, coupled with your choice of grilled chicken, steak, ground beef, pork or seared tofu in a fat tortilla the size of Cleveland’s south side. Any of the ten burritos on the menu can be ordered Enchilada Style, which adds the restaurant’s own special red sauce, cheese and sour cream on top of the burrito for a surcharge of $1.19.
For the more snack-friendly-eater, there’s the platter of three Taquitos ($5.89), which features a trio of rolled soft flour tortillas filled with steak, ground beef, chicken, pork or tofu, along with jack and cheddar cheeses, all topped with pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream and cilantro. Finger-lickin’ good.
Or try the forget-the-calories Nacho Mama ($6.29), that includes a platter of freshly cooked tortilla chips smothered in melted cheese, black beans, red sauce, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. This dish easily serves two or more, individualized for fiery flavor at the salsa and hot sauce bar.
Tacos take center stage with The Whole Enchilada’s Taco Basket that features a pair of tacos, plus chips and salsa in a wide variety of popular choices. The Hassellhoff ($6.59) is the standard fare with your choice of crispy, soft corn or soft wheat tortilla’s stuffed the American way with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and grated cheese plus your choice of grilled chicken, steak, pork or ground beef. Kick it up a notch with tiger shrimp or Mahi-Mahi ($7.19) and get extra protein and flavor all wrapped in one. The most unique selection of this group is the crisp flour tortilla taco, an unusual offering among Mexican fare and a delicious choice.
There is absolutely no explaining the Ex-Wife item on the menu. At $39.99, it’s a contest and entrée all in one. It’s basically a six-pound burrito (reread that weight for accuracy) with Mexican rice, black beans, jack and cheddar cheeses, salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce and sour cream plus the usual meat choices, and a large side order of chips and salsa. Finish the meal in 45 minutes and get it free, plus a T-shirt to remember the moment. Olé.
THE WHOLE ENCHILADA
745 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304