Nestled amidst a bustling part of Sacramento's Midtown, Azul Mexican Food and Tequila Bar is a comfortable reprieve from the motion and the energy. It a toned-down, relaxing kind of atmosphere, the lounge-like Azul is inviting to any and all in the area.
I was surprised to find that Azul features a walk-up-and-order style of dining. The cashiers and bartenders were all very friendly and greeted us with beaming smiles and energy. Later, as bodies came by to drop food, offer refills, and remove plates, the energy remained.
The menu is printed on large-format paper and folded in half. This, I'm sure, helps with getting menus in the hands of lines that form during the weekends (Azul is just a few feet away from a bunch of very active nightclubs). The items were surprisingly inexpensive.
Azul's name includes "tequila bar," and they really aren't kidding. Granted, I can't stand so much as the smell of tequila even after years of bartending, so I didn't bother. They have a few tasty beers on tap, which was good enough for me.
Breakdown of Food
Tortilla Chip Bar (Free!) It is tucked away in the back, behind a wall. Don't forget to give it a try, but be cautioned that you don't need to fill up on chips. Azul gives you plenty. I'd recommend the Chip Bar, but avoid the "guacamole." It is horrid.
Platillo Carnitas ($12) - "Tender pork served with rice, beans, guacamole and pico de gallo."
A little on the greasy side, my Carnitas plate was still pleasant. One of the most expensive things on the menu, the carnets did not disappoint. The pork was juicy, tender, and salted to perfection. I could have gone for just a little more onion flavor, but was still very happy. The included rice and beans were nothing to jump up at, but were good nonetheless. My flour tortillas were outstanding. I would recommend this dish.
Azul Burrito ($6.40) - "Flour tortilla, pico de gallo and covered with salsa and cheese."
My friend ordered this monstrous burrito-like log of food for only $6.40! Immediately, I regretted my order, as I could have had twice the food and twice the variety for only $.80 more! Oh well, live and learn. From the way his eyes rolled back in his head, I'd say my friend enjoyed the Azul Burrito quite a bit. I would recommend this dish.
Street Taco ($1.90) - "Soft corn tortillas, onion, cilantro."
My silly friend also ordered a street taco, which he didn't need. I'm not fond of cilantro, so I typically avoid this style of taco. My friend disagrees with my hatred of cilantro and said that this was "everything he ever hoped for in a street taco."
Atmosphere (design, crowd)
We were there on a lazy week night, so there were only a handful of other people around. As I've passed by on the weekends, the place can get very crowded, but is more laid back than the surrounding eateries. The design is comfortable and very… well, blue.
You'll probably have to park a few blocks away, regardless of what time of day or night you show up. The area is just very busy. It's safe, connected to major Midtown streets, and generally has a very upbeat crowd.
Food Quality: B
Food Quantity: A
Cool Factor: B+
Bathrooms: Didn't look, sorry!
Total Time: 1 hour on a week night, A
Azul Mexican Food and Tequila Bar was a nice, relaxed, and affordable meal. There isn't a lot of space, so don't go with a large group. It is also a very busy area, so if you need to eat right away, avoid it at peak hours. But if you've got a few minutes and a small group, definitely get out to Azul for a good time on a reasonable budget!