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.
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.
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.
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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