13772 Jamboree Rd
Irvine, CA 92602
Listing on Yahoo! Local
(It should be noted that their Yahoo! Local listing is fairly beefed up with photos, full menu, etc.)
Located in the Irvine Market Place, On the Border is literally located on the border between Irvine and Tustin and made a convenient stop for me on the way home from work. I'd been once before, maybe about a year or so ago, and on that occasion I tried their Build-Your-Own Burrito specialty where you check items off on a notepad to specify how you want your burrito cooked and exactly what ingredients to include.
This time, the server, who was particularly and genuinely attentive, brought me the biggest basket of chips I'd ever seen and two cups of salsa. I don't think I ate more than half of them and never dipped into the second cup of salsa.
Next up was a very fresh house salad topped with white and orange tortilla strips. The waiter didn't ask what kind of dressing I wanted on it but when he brought it out it was with a cup of dressing he said he recommended and that he would get me a different kind if I didn't like it. I kept meaning to ask what kind it was and never did but in perusing their menu online now as I write this there's a good bet it was the chipotle-balsamic vinaigrette and it worked as the perfect complement to the particular blend of salad ingredients.
As a beverage I ordered a refreshing virgin strawberry daquiri. Once again, bonus points go to any restaurant that offers any drink in addition to alcohol, soda, and water.
On the Border bills themselves as a Mexican Grill and Cantina but with an item on their menu called "ranchiladas" you know it's gotta be Tex-Mex. But I was in a Tex-Mex mood so I ordered the ranchiladas. It was a dish comprised of a fajita-grilled steak (not bad but the meat was just a bit too chewy), two cheese-onion enchiladas, Mexican rice (lots of corn in it!), and black beans. The whole plate had a lot of the ranchero sauce smothered all over it so I got to use some of my extra chips and make my own custom nachos again.
I wish I wasn't allergic to pecans because their Chocolate Turtle Empanadas looked good enough to, well, eat. I just couldn't . . . eat them. The dinner had filled me up anyway so I didn't even have room for any of their other desserts.
Overall the experience merits a four Speedy Gonzales rating:
UPDATE (June 5, 2008): Here's some photos from a more recent visit: