Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tour de Mexican

It is unusual for me, but I have had Mexican fare twice in two weeks. It's not that I don't like Mexican food, but it has always been one of the cuisines that I need to be in the mood for. We had a gift certificate to Zocalo's Mexican Grill and Tequilera, so we decided to use it last week before it expired. I have been there before (three times actually) and the food has been so-so, but this time it was so terrible that I will not go back. I know that they brought in celebrity chef Aarón Sanchez to recreate their menu when the restaurant started to flop after its opening, but it has not improved and I swear that they keep changing how their items are prepared. We tried to start with the Calamares Fritos appetizer, but they had sold out. A little disheartened, we opted for the Empanadas de Carnitas- three crispy empanadas filled with slow roasted pork and marinated onions served with a tomatillo avocado salsa and pickled onions. The empanadas looked and tasted as though they came from Sam's Club in frozen bulk. They were flavorless and chalky, and we didn't even fight over the third empanada. I always like to order combination plates when at Mexican restaurants. I like to try a couple of smaller items and have variety on my plate. I have ordered their enchiladas before, and I have never seen what came out on my plate. The enchilada was covered in what tasted like a marinara sauce- not what I wanted with my Mexican. It too was bland and ruined the enchilada for me. The only highlight was the burrito. It was very good, not the best, but very good. The ingredients were fresh, and the blend was tasty. My companion ordered the Tacos de Pescado (fish tacos), and was very disappointed. The mahi-mahi was overcooked and dry, and the tacos were soupy. The highlight of your meal at an "authentic" Mexican restaurant should not be the rice and beans, but unfortunately the side dishes were the best part of our meal.

On a lighter note, we dined at Cozumel in Independence last night and it was to die for! They have great food, good prices, and you almost feel as though you are really dining in Mexico. The staff is always warm and friendly, and the margaritas go down a little too smoothly. Once again, I ordered a combination platter with a beef burrito, cheese enchilada, and a chili relleno. All three were flavorful and authentic. My love for Mexican fare has been restored!

2071 E 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 781-0420

5555 Brecksville Road
Cleveland, OH 44131
(216) 447-1070

Zocalo Mexican Grill & Tequileria on Urbanspoon


Katie said...

we had an awful experience at Zocalo's last month. From slow, lazy service to insipid food there was not a single high point to the night. It was a waste of money.

We'll have to give Cozulmel a try, though!

Tara the Foodie said...

Yet another bad review of Zocalo and I'm not the least bit surprised. We too have given that place about 3 or 4 tries and each time the food has either been ok or terrible. I've talked to friends that have gone there and gotten cold food and I also experienced the feeling that the food was coming from the freezer and then overcooked until dry. That restaurant does not deserve to be on E. 4th Street with all the other amazing places to eat and Aaron Sanchez needs to get his butt back to that restaurant and find out how they are desecrating his name on a daily basis with this horrible food.