" No burritos served here! " warns a hand-written note on the door of Tu y Yo, a cheery, pastel-hued Mexican restaurant located right off Somerville’s bustling Powderhouse Square rotary. More than just a cute joke, the door sign is a clue that this cozy spot is on a mission: to prove that Mexican cuisine goes much deeper than cheese-heavy Tex-Mex grub, California-style veggie wraps, and the ubiquitous $5 burrito. Modeled after a type of Mexican diner called a fonda, Tu y Yo specializes in home-style south-of-the-border dinner items that are a step above the typical taquería offerings in price and flavor. Sautéed octopus, pan-fried fish, and grilled pork chops, for example.
Tu y Yo recently acquired a liquor license, so first off we ordered sangrias (one traditional red and one white, each $2.95) to combat the heat. They did the trick.
The main courses came quickly, even though everything is made to order. " Bisteces Mama Evelia " ($10.95), described as a plate of sirloin strips sautéed in onion and tomatillo-chipotle sauce, tasted more like classic brisket with a tangy hint of vinegar; the tender meat fell apart with a light poke of the fork. The Tu y Yo special ($9.95) — one gringa, one sope, and one quesadilla — wasn’t as exciting, but it proved that the kitchen can do the basics just as well as anyone in town. Both entrées came with a cup of smoky, soupy black beans, a tower of moist, two-toned rice, and a selection of brightly colored salsas. The portions are large, though we made room for flan a la Doris ($2.95), a generous pie-shaped slice of sweet caramel custard surrounded by a pool of creamy cinnamon-citrus sauce. The burritos, needless to say, were not missed.
Tu y Yo, located at 858 Broadway, in Somerville, is open Monday through Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Call (617) 623-5411.