Monday, August 22, 2011

El Palacio of Mexican Food [3/5]

El Palacio

Drawn in by the giant yellow sombrero shaped sign, the hubby and I stopped at El Palacio of Mexican Food one Monday night for dinner. This is a place that we routinely pass but had only been into once before. The staff was nowhere in sight when we walked in and it took some time for someone to return to the front and seat us. Our wait was short enough that I was only midly annoyed by the time someone returned, however, the couple who was waiting to pay when we arrived looked fairly disgruntled, especially as we were seated before they were attended to.

Once we were seated our sever was friendly and somewhat more attentive. Being a Monday night, there were few other patrons, which made our server's haphazard checkins all the more odd. Once we settled in with drinks, we settled on our orders. The hubby went with a #17--an enchilada and a combo burrito. I decided to try something other than my usual standbys and opted for the Queso de Pollo--chicken served on a bed of rice with a chile con queso, avocado, tomato and my choice of beans.

While we waited for our food to come up, we munched on the tortilla chips.

El Palacio

We were each served our own bowl of chips, which is a nice touch for diners who disagree on whether to salt their chips. The chips were thin and crisp, a mix of white and yellow corn, but with no distinction in flavor. With the chips came two discrete salsas. One was chunkier with visible seeds and lots of heat. The other was smooth, more like a tomato sauce, milder than the first but still with a bit of a kick.

When our dinner came out I was a bit surprised at just how massive my dish was. (See the photo at the top of the post. A skillet was filled with rice and topped with a butterflied chicken breast. The broad expanse of meat was smothered in a light yellow cheese sauce, surrounded by slices of avocado and topped with a couple of slices of tomato. The borrachos (my beans of choice) were served on the side, along with a small container of flour tortillas.

El Palacio

The borrachos were well balanced with hunks of thick bacon, onions and beans suspended in a thin broth flavored with cilantro and carrying a fairly strong kick. The flour tortillas were thick and flavorful, though I was a little confused as to their purpose. The four small tortillas I was given were hardly enough to contain all of the chicken and rice had I wanted to make tacos. Instead I alternated between making tacos and simply eating it as an entrée.

The rice was light and fluffy, the chicken cooked through. The chile con queso was creamy and cheesy with an oddly plasticky taste which led me to believe they used Velveeta as a base. The avocado and tomato were unremarkable, the tomato seemed added mostly for color and the avocado was unripe. Taken together, I found the dish to be too heavy for my taste. I would have been happier with something lighter involving more fresh vegetables, though others might prefer the hearty nature of the meal.

My hubby was not overly impressed with his meal either.

El Palacio

The portions were certainly generous, I was able to make multiple meals out of my leftovers, which balanced the prices being charged. Given the multitude of other Mexican restaurants in town, the slow service and the plasticky chile con queso, I won't be back.

Total for the meal: $36.87 (includes two entrées and two soft drinks)

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  1. I was here last Friday with my parents and uncle and two little ones (3 year old and 21 month). I had ordered my son his meal as soon as I got their tellin the waitress to bring it out as soon as possible and not with our entrees. well 20 min went by and no meal for my child. I was a bit annoyed since she didnt care to tell me what was the delay. My uncle had to get up and go to the kitchen to get her and her excuse was that the kitchen was shorthanded. The meal came out with our meals. By now she was in tears because we were pretty upset. She never came back to ask us how our meal was or if we wanted dessert. She left the bill on the table without saying anything. Very poor service and rude employees. We have been going to this restaurant for over 30 years (well my parents) ownership has changed over the past few years like 3 to 4 times. These new owners or managers were not professional at all. When we went up to pay the bill I told my dad she did not deserve a tip with the way she treated us. Well the whole wait staff and the waitress were waiting by the register as the manager rang us up. Our bill was 65 dollars (not worth it) and then the manager calculated gratuity for a party of 6. I asked him why he was doing that and he said the menu says party of 6 gratuity will be charged. I was furious how they can charge us that for 2 small kids and poor service. I don't recommend anyone going here. Poor service and wait staff is not professional at all.

  2. Anonymous--I'm sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience, but thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. El Palacio, a restaurant I've eaten at all my life. I get flour tortillas, refried beans, rice, and whithe cheese dip. I put it together into tacos and dip it in the cheese. BTW, best beans in the universe. I hate rosies, El herradura is okay, but when I have the chance, I go to El Palacio. They don't really have desert. Sopapillas (excuse any bad spelling) are really the only thing you can call desert. I saw someone elsewhere said about the buffet not coming with drinks. It does, if it's tea or water. Soft drinks cost extra, but refills are always free. The fajitas are amazing. I don't like the chicken fajitas anywhere else. It's so good, I eat the chicken leftovers cold. They're still that good

  4. I have eaten at El Palacio's since 1970 or before (when I was in Kindergarten). The best thing to get there are the Chilie Rellano's. You will not find a better Mexican dish anywhere. Every time i go there (and it isn't that often) i always get the Mexican Plato--Chilie Rellano's and a cheese enchillado. Their beans are as the other commenter said, simply the best.

    go back and try the Rellano's, i think you will really like them.

  5. BTW, they have had the same carpet and whipped cream celings since it opened in 1966. It is like Duffy's Deli, not very clean but a great place to go for good Old Hsv food.

  6. My wifey and I love the lunch buffet; we have eaten a passel (it's southern for, "a lot') of lunches there. We love the chile rellenos, the chalupas and beef burritos. Service is always very attentive; the servers carry your trays to the table, and provide pitchers of ice cold tea and water. If you eat all your salsa and chips, more of those show up also. We may have unsophisticated palates, but we know what we like and what tastes good...

    1. Hey, to each their own. The important thing is that you are enjoying your food. ^_^

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  8. El Palacio has been in business 47 yrs this month. You dont stay in business this long if they were doing something wrong. They are still owned by original owners and currently being ran by immediate family. They have top notch customer service. Nothing is frozen and always fresh. Comments are aways just a opinions. I think people should try it based on 47 yrs of business and not go on comments left by others that may be out to destroy a family owned business.


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