Report Card: El Vaquero

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El Vaquero Mexican on Urbanspoon

http://www.vaquerorestaurant.com/

 

Overall GrubGrade B 

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B: Believe it or not, I didn’t even have to get out the calculator to figure out the average grade for El Vaquero. The atmosphere at El Vaquero was alright. The restaurant was clean, and completely devoid of any popular North American sporting events on TV. Sorry, but I just can’t get into soccer. But, the lack of sporting entertainment just allowed me to focus on my lovely wife. El Vaquero wasn’t real busy on the evening we visited, so the place was pretty quiet. Sure, there was some Mexican music playing in the background, but it wasn’t so loud that it was annoying. This particular El Vaquero is in a strip mall (just like Chile Verde), and we are noticing the décor usually suffers because of this. The décor at El Vaquero wasn’t bad, just a little uninspiring.

High marks: Clean, fairly quiet

Low marks: Uninspiring decor

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Service: Grade B: Our server, Omar, did a really nice job. Sure, the was the requisite language barrier that we seem to experience at all the Mexican eateries that we visit, but we understood each other enough that Omar was able to make some jokes, including trying to pawn a second margarita off on us. He kept our salsa dishes full and our chip baskets overflowing with fresh chips. Again, like most other Mexican restaurants, the wait for our entrees was almost non-existent. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for Omar to “wow” us, and our dinner needs were pretty straight-forward.

High marks: Fast, friendly service

Low marks:   Simple demands didn’t allow server much opportunity to impress

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Food/Spirits: Grade B: I bet you can’t guess what we ordered to drink. Well, if you did guess margaritas, either you’re lucky or you’ve read this blog before. The margaritas at El Vaquero were tasty, but there was no hint of tequila in the taste, so we were a little suspicious of their strength. We also chowed down on chips and salsa, and while the chips were nice and fresh, the salsa was serviceable but not overly impressive. It did have a bit of a kick, but otherwise it wasn’t very memorable. For entrees, Katina ordered the Chimichanga Suprema and I ordered the Nachos Supreme. The chimichanga was cooked nicely and stuffed full of all the ingredients that the menu advertised. It was simple, but very tasty. The nachos, on the other hand, were a bit of a mess. I always forget to ask for light lettuce when I visit an “authentic” Mexican restaurant. Evidently, real Mexicans must really like lettuce, because all of the dishes I’ve ordered at “authentic” Mexican restaurants are buried under a ton of lettuce. I like lettuce…kinda…but I don’t want it to be the main ingredient in any of my dishes (unless I’ve ordered a salad). The nachos were covered in a ton of lettuce (no surprise) and there was a pool of some liquid (it wasn’t cheese as much as a cheese/water mix) that made all of the chips soggy. You’re definitely going to want to pass on the nachos. El Vaquero gets a “B” because the nachos were technically an appetizer, and the entrée they served was actually pretty good.

High marks: Decent (if not weak) margaritas, good chimichanga              

Low marks: Nachos left a lot to be desired

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Value: Grade B: We didn’t take any doggy bags home, but we weren’t hungry when we left, either. Nachos aside, the food was pretty good quality, the price was really reasonable, and portion size was good. El Vaquero doesn’t really outshine any of the competition, but it holds its own. We recommend it for a nice change of pace.

High marks: Decent quality, decent portion size, decent price

Low marks: Doesn’t really stand out

 

 

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