SASEBO, Japan — I went to Mike’s Tex-Mex looking for a burrito. Two hours later, I realized I had found so much more.

It’s called the Cadillac margarita.

Maybe you’ve gulped machine-made slushies in Cancun or sipped rocks margaritas at your hometown Mexican restaurant or drowned your sorrows in ready-mix and El Toro. But you haven’t had the Cadillac margarita.

Their secret is twofold. First, the name is sexy and decadent. The second is the Grand Marnier, a liqueur that smoothes over the most rowdy and boorish of liquors, tequila.

Less tequila is a good thing for me. For those self-abusive souls who prefer it, Mike’s has several different kinds, whether straight up or in a classic margarita.

As Lee Marvin once said about tequila, “You keep drinking until you finally take one more and it just won’t go down, then you know you’ve reached your limit.”

There are plenty of places in Sailor Town to practice the Marvin method of drinking, but Mike’s Tex-Mex probably isn’t one of them.

The chilled-out atmosphere is more conducive to enjoying a hot plate of tacos and rice or house specialties such as Mexican stir fry over a fancy drink or a 520-yen beer.

You can choose between five different set-menu meals, which include burritos, gorditas and tacos, for 990 to 1,450 yen. Restaurant space is limited but not cramped and patrons can sit and eat at the bar.

If you get a Cadillac on the rocks or blended, with salt or without, the result is a pale, slightly sweeter margarita with less of the acidic bite. A few of them will make a grown man’s head spin.

Now, here’s the full disclosure. The Cadillac margarita is 1,050 yen so more frugal customers might want to order a 750-yen cocktail instead.

There is something comforting about finding an authentic — this is coming from an Ohio native, now — Tex-Mex restaurant while living halfway around the world.

It warms the chest, just like a good margarita.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Mike’s Tex-Mex

Sasebo, Japan

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Prices: Entrees at 900-1,200 yen with a kid’s menu from 320-740 yen. Imported beers are 520-630 yen and cocktails are 750 yen. Margaritas are 800 yen per glass and 2,700 per pitcher.

Specialties: Monterey fajitas, Mexican stir fry, Cadillac margaritas

English menu: Yes, with pictures

Dress: Casual

Clientele: Mostly gaijin in a friendly but not rowdy atmosphere

Location: Shimokyo machi 4-8, downtown Sasebo. From the naval base, cross the Albuquerque Bridge and go straight until you reach the arcade. Go right until you reach the end of the arcade and then veer right into the diagonal alley. You will see the Mike’s sign — and its tequila-toting worm — on your right.

Phone: 0956-24-2704


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