Located at the base of Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, Arriba Mexican Grille is a welcome stop for those weary travelers and vacationers who long for something besides the normal tourist cuisine.
Arriba literally means an exclamation of pleasure, elation or approval, so this oasis of culinary paradise is quite aptly named.
Walking in, you are greeted by the friendly staff that seats you immediately, takes your beverage and food order and then actually returns to see how you are doing. The hour I was there I did not see the wait staff slow down or disappear from view, it was like watching three cyclones sweeping through the dining room; busing tables, bringing out food and drink, seating customers and ringing up checks, all while smiling and laughing.
The décor is fun and authentic. From the string lighting covering the sheet metal walls, the cabana-like feel of the bar, and the framed posters of chili peppers and hot sauces, you feel like you are dining in a happy neighborhood eatery and not at a posh resort. My favorites were the huge inflatable chili pepper covering the ceiling in the dining room, and the sombrero-wearing parrots sitting atop the booths.
The food is terrific. The chips and salsa that is served in every other Mexican restaurant, cantina or comedor, cannot compare to these. The chips were made to order, cut from corn tortillas, deep fried and served warm. The salsa was exquisite, somewhere between spicy and mild, and certainly handcrafted in the kitchen that day.
The nachos were made from the same homemade chips, with refried beans, cheese, a signature house-blended queso cheese sauce, jalapenos, sour cream and ground beef that still leaves me wishing I could copy the unique flavors of the recipe. I have never tasted anything so distinctive in Mexican cooking. The side of guacamole for my nachos was made to order, the dish enough to feed four people.
The menu has the usual combo platters, tacos, burritos and fajitas. Also worth noting are the salad and tacos served with crispy Mahi Mahi, the vegetarian burrito and the shrimp enchiladas.
There is a children’s menu, carry-out service, desserts, patio dining and a full bar.
If you are planning a trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota, do not miss out on this restaurant. They are located in Holy Terror Square, Keystone SD, 57751. Their phone numbers is 605.666.4733 or find them on the web at www.blackhillsarriba.com.