Libre Mexican Cantina

Libre is a newer Mexican food spot at the Red Rock Casino, taking the place of Cabo before it, with great seating options including an open air patio.  They currently have a happy hour from 4 to 6 pm where they have $6.00 appetizers and drinks as well as a reverse happy hour on Friday and Saturday from 9 to 11 pm.  There are quite a few other specials going on so I would check in and see what is currently happening if you are basing your choices on a special or two.

The chips and salsa were good, but nothing to write home about.  We also ordered guacamole for the table and a second appetizer from the $6.00 happy hour menu, fried corn fritters.  The guacamole was great–fresh avocado and veggies, served in a traditional rock molcajete.  Sadly, our waiter forgot to enter our second appetizer so it didn’t come until after we were served our food.  Service was a bit spotty and even though there were two hosts and two bartenders, I could swear there was a single waiter in the whole place.  Granted, it was a Monday at 5:00PM and there were only about 5 tables seated, it still seemed off to be short on wait staff at a location like this.

Drinks were definitely heavy-handed pours but for the $6.00 happy hour margarita it tasted like they were using a very inexpensive blanco, something like the Sauza Blanco–cheap, does the trick, but not much flavor.  I’d be interested to head back and try another margarita or a house special drink.  They were in the least consistent as my first tasted just like the second–kudos on that.

The menu is pretty innovative and had ample choices for folks with dietary restrictions–lots of gluten-free options as well as a vegan section.  Our table tried the cheese enchiladas, the carne asada burrito (wet with red sauce), and the chicken rice bowl.  The rice bowl was decent but not a ton of flavor, even when swapping out the brown rice for spanish/red rice.  I think the intention there was health conscious, but it could have been better spiced.  Both the enchilada and the burrito were covered, and I mean covered, in red sauce.  The sauce was thick, more like a mole, and drowned out any hope of tasting the cheese or carne asada.  If we hear back I think I will stay away from any sauced options, at least the red sauce.  If the green sauce is thinner it might be a better option.

Customizations might be tough here–let me explain:  I tried to order a side of the pineapple pico de gallo as would come with the chicken al pastor burrito to go with the enchiladas [I love pineapple on anything].  What arrived was a bed of cabbage, about 10 pieces of chopped tomato, topped with 15 or so wedges of canned pineapple.  Perhaps what I asked for wasn’t communicated well [waiter was in the weeds, obvs] but it was a bit sad.  That led me to believe that a lot of the items here aren’t from scratch, but I also think this is a casino owned Mexican restaurant so we weren’t expecting the glory that is Vivo Michoacan.

Overall I would give the atmosphere a 5/5 [did I mention there are Lucha Libre paintings all around?  Awesome], food a 3/5, drinks a 4/5 because I expect cheap tequila in happy hour priced drinks and I think the others would be better based on the consistency, and finally, overall a 3.5/5.  I would say give it a shot, then tell me what you think.  I definitely plan to give Libre another go before we write it off completely.  I bet you will like the patio and drinks if nothing else. Viva bebidos, muchachos and muchachas!

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