Mister and I went to El Loco restaurant on Madison Avenue for an early dinner.
The decor was interesting at first, slightly overwhelming by the end of dinner. The other aspect that felt strange was the large number of staff in such a small space.
Woman #1 greeted us at the door and got our menus, Man #2 took our drink order and brought our drinks, woman #3 took our food order and brought out food. Then Woman #4 checked on us after food arrived, Woman #1 checked on us again. At this point I can’t even remember which one of the waitresses brought the check, it was quite possibly a fifth person.
Maybe I had a long day, maybe it was my contacts but the menu was hard to read. The lamination was lifting away from the paper just enough that everything was blurry unless you ran your finger along the words. I’m nitpicking and quite possibly crazy, I’m just going to blame the overwhelming decor. (There were three different types of lighting over our table alone)
We settled on a carafe of sangria, an order of chips with guacamole, and then split an entree of one beef and bean chimichanga and one beef and bean enchilada.
It was standard, totally acceptable Tex-Mex (which the waitress actually called LA-Mex when explaining a dish. I’ve never heard this phrase before….is this a thing? Is it different?)
The beef was tender and shredded versus ground which I appreciated. The enchilada lacked textural contrast and was just on the side of dry. That might be because Mister got most of the sour cream topping though.
I personally liked the chimichanga much more; crunchy, spicy, goodness. While the sangria was just enough fruity goodness (although weak for sure), the guacamole and chips could be skipped. The guac was cold, which to me indicated premade and in this case meant muted flavors. The disproportionately large amount of chips was surprising for sure, but they were thick and had the mouthfeel of being stale even thought I don’t think they were.
Wow, that was a whole lot of negative. It wasn’t that bad, but it was American Mexican food, which is pretty standard and predictable. Maybe it’s even baseline of taste and textures should be comforting; like McDonalds, “Tex-Mex” varies little in this region. It’s a safe, easy choice.