Senor Salsa, At Last!

The rule at our house is that any time I work a twenty-four hour shift at the hospital, Himself either cooks our dinner or we go out. For months we've been tantalized by the "opening soon" promise of a Mexican place across the street from the hospital. Last night we paid it a visit. It was mobbed. Here is my experience; your mileage may vary.

  • They can't help the size of the parking lot. It was tiny when the space was "Timber." Heck, it was tiny when it was the Innflight. It's still tiny. We squeezed into the last space. It was about six o'clock of a Sunday night.
  • Once inside, again the tininess. No waiting area to speak of, small bar, and hostess on the far side of the "vestibule." A cashier's stand just inside the door appears to have no function.
  • The decor is charming. Very Mexican throughout.
  • I had a "raspberry" margarita. Strong on raspberry, weak on margarita, and lots and LOTS of ice. I won't get that again. 
  • We were told we'd have a twenty-minute wait; I don't think it was that long.
  • They've attempted to put about six too many tables in the place. It is very, very crowded and cramped. And noisy, too.
  • We were barely seated when our waiter arrived with chips and salsa. I requested a small guacamole which he brought quickly. He appeared to be a genuine Mexican person, as did most of the staff. Added credibility. He didn't call us "guys," always a plus in my book.
  • The menu is extensive. It goes on for pages and pages. Neither of us knows much about Mexican food; we just know we like it if it isn't too spicy. We both ordered the Combo where you get to pick two items from a list and they come with rice and with beans, both of which are important to us. I chose a tamal (no e) and a chicken quesadilla. Himself had a soft taco and a burrito. 
  • The food arrived very quickly but, as is so often the case, we were cautioned about the hot plates, a sure sign of extensive microwave use. Oddly, the table next to us, a party of 6, had been seated and placed their order before we sat down, and their food was just arriving as we were getting up to leave. So the service may be spotty.
  • The chips were good. The salsa was not freshly made but seemed to have come from a jar. It wasn't real spicy (another plus). The guacamole was okay; it was on the bland side. Jalapeños would have been unwelcome, but it may have needed some lemon juice or some other seasoning. The tamal was delicious. The rice was tasty but odd; it felt to me like Minute Rice dressed in a sombrero. (Speaking of sombreros, two nearby tables were celebrating birthdays and the victim was crowned with an immense sombrero during the mercifully brief song.) The beans were nice. I can't tell you how the quesadilla was because I didn't touch it. There was a staff person wandering around, offering take-home boxes. Himself liked his soft taco and his burrito. One of us will have my quesadilla for lunch today.
  • The dessert menu was enticing. I would love to have tried the tres leches cake and I know my dear companion might well have enjoyed the fried ice cream. But we were stuffed. Full. 
  • The service was fine; no problems there, guys. The din kind of got to us after a bit. 
  • The value was outstanding, and this is important since it is going to be a hospital employee spot. These folks need prompt service and low prices. Señor Salsa provided both for us. Not including the strange margarita and Himself's Corona, the bill for the two of us was $30.61. I'm a cheap date.
  • We grabbed the last two mints at the defunct cashier counter on the way out. They were great.
Will we return? Probably not for dinner any time soon. Truth be told, once we were seated we felt just a wee bit hurried. And really cramped. The noise was too much for us old people; twenty-somethings on a Friday might find it perfect. It might be a place to have lunch with girlfriends; I'd be glad to give that a try.


Karla said…
I am so glad to read your review. I plan on going there sometime on a Monday(if they are open) or Tuesday night with a girlfriend. Now I am craving some good Mexican! Have you eaten at Vintage? Not bad food, albeit noisy.
Mrs. Goodneedle said…
Your reveiew sound slike every Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten in; except for the one where you, Salem Stitcher and I dined in Asheville... Neo Cantina, still my fave! The company was superb that day too!! :)
Barbara Anne said…
Ah, you've flung a craving on me.

My favorite Mexican restaurant was a long-gone Memphis one called El Chapo's where the dips and foods were delicious, well spiced, but not too hot; the interior space was roomy; and the parking lot was spacious. Sigh! I have the recipe for their wonderful cheese dip. Want it?

Denise in PA said…
Thanks much for the review! I've been wondering about that place. The new Mexican in Hatboro (Los Tacos Locos) is very good - nearer me than you, but I just thought I'd share
Ms. Jan said…
Plates in Mexican restaurants are often hot because they sit in broilers to melt the cheese on the beans. Just sayin', in California