Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I apologize to Mango & Coconut about the place I suggested. It looked good and had some good reviews online but what a let down. We went to Taléo Grill in Irvine. The decor was very nice, it was a wooden furnish. Definitely a nice ambiance, but to be honest I am only there for the food and company of my friends. I hadn't eaten all day and this was my first meal of the day, dinner, you'd think food would taste wonderful when you are starving. So what does it tell you when your starving and food still tastes bad, it can get a lot worse if you are not hungry. Warning again about my pictures, do not be deceived by them! I try to make it look good despite what I think of the food.
To start off the night we ordered the Queso Fundido. A rich and thick cheese dip of melted cotija and Reggiano cheeses with roasted poblano peppers, sautéed mushrooms and chorizo served with fresh-made tortilla chips. Also available vegetarian-style with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. It might sound good and cohesive as a whole, but man did they miss the mark! The tortilla chips were very fresh and hot, but they were WAY overloaded with salt. The dip itself was salty enough and using salty chips really ruined the dish. You would think that the dip would be thicker but it was very runny. There wasn't any flavor really except salty, we had to add the salsa to give it a kick. I wouldn't recommend this dish to anyone.
Mango got the Ahi Tuna Salad. Thinly sliced pan-seared, rare sushi-grade tuna filet served alongside crisp mixed greens, oven roasted tomatoes and herbed potato rounds with a creamy avocado vinaigrette. The slices weren't that thin and the fish did not look too fresh. It staill tasted good. The dressing was actually pretty good. I liked the crunch that the tortilla chips gave to the salad. Overall I liked the concept of the salad but only if the fish was fresher. I have to say this though, WHAT THE HECK IS THIS DISH DOING IN A "MEXICAN" RESTAURANT!!!!!!!!! This should tell you this place wasn't that authentic and you shouldn't expect much!
Coconut, borrowing this from what Tofu called you, ordered the Tacos al Carbon. It was two soft, flour tortillas filled with grilled filet mignon, topped with thinly sliced cabbage, roasted pepper rajas, pico de gallo, salsa and guacamole. Served with frijoles charros and Mexican rice. The filet mignon was a little dried out but still tender and flavorful. The portion was kind of small in my opinion for $16. I guess you were paying for the tender beef. Personally, I would rather go to Albertaco's for cheap eats! As you can see, my curve of quality versus quantity for Mexican food is skewed towards quantity! Especially in the state of California there is PLENTY of yummy Mexican food for cheap!
I decided to try their Carnitas. It's prepared with Chef Jose's family recipe of tender pork carnitas caramelized to perfection, served with guacamole, escabeche, frijoles charros and Mexican rice. Flour or corn tortillas. Ever since I had this dish at El Cholo in Santa Monica, I have loved it. I don't think this place measure up to El Cholo. It was decently flavored, but the meat wasn't very tender. This was the first time that I have seen the meat to be a leg meat. Sadly, I think my dish was the best of the night and it wasn't that great either. The tougher meat on the outside had the most flavor but you lose the tenderness. I wouldn't get this dish again if I went and it was pricey.
I substituted my frijoles charros with Purée de Papas. Okay, I have to say that was dumb that they make mashed potatoes sound "fancy" by changing the name. It was good, but I mean it's mashed potatoes. The server was nice and I am glad she allowed the substitute since I HATE beans. I hate all types of beans!
The reason I really wanted to come try this place was the dessert. I have been looking for the perfect Pastel de Tres Leches. White cake soaked with three sweet milks, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. We shared this dessert. The cake was very moist. I actually liked this dish, it didn't wow me but the flavors were good. It wasn't too sweet and was light so it complimented the fruits. You can probably eat a whole cake of this and not feel weighed down.
All in all the food wasn't the greatest and prices were kind of high. The service was good and the interior design was very nice. This definitely was not your typical Mexican restaurant. There wasn't any authenticity at all. I still had a great time with my friends though, but that was because of their company! ^_- I don't think I will be back here because there are TONS of great Mexican food in Southern California and this place definitely does not fit the profile. A lot of people gave it high ratings but I think they just don't know what good cheap Mexican food is! They probably like the Americanization and fusion aspects. Oh well! I go to Albertaco's for my yummy $3 Carne Asada Burrito or the oh so wonderful $5 Carne Asada Nachos! For a FRACTION of the price we spent I can get tons of yummy Mexican food!

5 comments:

Matt said...

that's some serious hatred of beans you got going on over there

Kat said...

haha yup yup... I hate all types of beans, especially if they are mushi! Ewww lol... I hate red beans, green beans, baked beans, kidney beas... etc... the list could go on O=P

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