Friday, July 8, 2011

And Now For Something Completely The Same.

El Mariachi Loco
610 Isom Road, at Ramsey Street

What's not to like about this place? It's like being at a friend's house for lunch, on a day when the whole neighbourhood is over. The place is clean, simply furnished, and the whole family chips in to see that everybody gets what they like. Glasses are kept full, tostadas are replenished, salsa pours forth like manna. 

Well, a slight exaggeration. True, the service is good, in the way that local news broadcasts are good. And having the young daughter of the family helping out adds a dollop of cute-factor to the whole lunch experience. Mom, I'm guessing, didn't think that fifteen tables in a small room could be quite that much work, and I expect that either a regular helper was MIA, or the Texas Republican Party's job-creation strategy is about to prove its worth.

Well, here's the deal: the service is good, although when I say that I mean it's not bad. The ambience is that of every run-of-the-molino family-operated Tex-Mex restaurant in Paradise South. In other words, not bad. The prices are right where you feel like they ought to be. It's the food that lets this place down a little.

Last city inspection: January 2011
11 demerits
It's not really bad food; it's food that inhabits that strange vague region between "good" and "bad." It's just, you know, food. The right things, more or less, prepared without great skill, in too much of a hurry (I suspect), and served as fast as mom can bring it out to you. The chips were so-so; the salsa looked good but turned out to be ordinary. The tortillas were acceptable, but just barely: one was burned, another hardly warmed. They looked like flour but tasted like corn, and not good corn, tortillas. The peppers and onions in my food were undercooked, and the cheese ... well, was there cheese? Yes, yes, I'm sure I saw cheese in there; I just didn't taste it. My lunch partner swore his dish was very good, very good, but from his detailed description of the experience under torture, I'd say his standards have gotten lax in my absence. His food was so-so, too.
El Mariachi Loco on Urbanspoon

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