Report Card: Zocalo Mexican Grill

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Zocalo Mexican Grill & Tequileria on Urbanspoon

http://www.ZocaloCleveland.com

Overall GrubGrade B-

 

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade B:  We wanted to try Zocala Mexican Grill after reading some reviews on other sites so we made our way to E. 4th Street.  We were a little apprehensive at first after seeing the outside of the restaurant.  The main entrance is in an alley, which is usually a red flag.  You will forget the outer appearance once you enter the restaurant.  The two level eating establishment is decked out with genre appropriate décor.  While the interior isn’t overly fancy, you are definitely not going to mistake it for Taco Bell.  With all that space, it is not surprise that the tables in Zocala are spaced nicely.  It was still a little difficult to carry on a conversation, as the place was fairly noisy.  But, it you are serving bucket-sized margaritas in your establishment, things are probably going to get pretty loud.  We didn’t mind.  We found the atmosphere to be festive.

High marks:  Clean, spacious, nice decor

Low marks:   Outside is not as nice as inside

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Service:  Grade B:  At Zocala, we got tag teamed.  We usually don’t enjoy being tag teamed by servers.  We find that many times it means we have to ask for things twice.  However, on this occasion, that tag team worked out nicely.  Apparently, someone told both our servers that it was okay to talk to each other – go figure.  And, when I ordered the extremely large grande margarita, neither server looked at me like I was someone who might have a little problem.  I appreciated that.  We were given chips and salsa refills almost instantaneously, and we had minimal wait for appetizers or entrees.  It was a really good service, but I think it was a little too busy and loud for either server to really engage us.

High marks:  Good flow to meal, virtually no waiting, good communication between servers

Low marks:   Too busy and loud for really excellent service

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Food/Spirits:  Grade B-:  Once again, we’re at a Mexican themed restaurant.  So, you all know what that means – margaritas!  Katina ordered the Zocalo Colorado Sunset and I checked my liver at the door and went with the colossal Blackberry Lime Margarita (grande size).  Both margaritas were excellent, but when you have to use two hands to lift your glass, you might have a problem.  The margaritas were very smooth and went down extremely easy.  Some of the best margaritas we’ve had.  We chose the Calamares Fritos for our appetizer.  While it wasn’t the best version of calamari we have ever had, we found the use of seasoned Chili flour a nice touch.  It wasn’t enough to make the calamari stand out compared to many of the other calamari appetizers we’ve tried.  But, for some reason we were still disappointed.  For entrees, Katina ordered the Crab Stuffed Mahi Mahi and I chose the Enchilada Tinga Poblano.  The Enchilada Tinga Poblano contained slow roasted carnitas in chipotle and enchilada sauces and wrapped in corn tortillas.  Then the enchilada is topped with a cheese blend then blessed by the Pope and put on your plate.  Okay, so the blessing might be a stretch, but the enchilada did taste divine.

High marks:  Really good margaritas and entrees

Low marks:  Calamari was good but not exceptional — we were a little disappointed

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Value:  Grade B-:  We escaped Zocalo Mexican Grill without having to take out another mortgage on our home.  Actually, considering one of us had a gallon of margarita, the price was fairly reasonable.  No doggie bags made it back with us, but that had more to do with the fact we were starved than portion size.  It you’re into Mexican cuisine, you have to make your way to Zocala Mexican Grill.  Your tummy will thank you.

High marks:  Good portion size – reasonable price

Low marks:  Quality really good, but we expected a little better

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2 thoughts on “Report Card: Zocalo Mexican Grill

    • Michael,

      Unfortunately, we do not remember our servers names. we usually make a point to keep our receipts so we can mention the servers by name if they did a good job. However, we lost our receipt during our travels.
      Next time, we’ll make sure to pass their names along. We definitely be back.

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