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Mar 20, 2007 12:35 PM

Gardunos - Rio Rancho, NM


I am not much of a chain restaraunt guy, but I will on occasion while travelling, hit places that I am familiar with. Gardunos mexican is one of those places. I rate it as average to a little above average chain mexican fare from my past experiences. Today on my trip to Abq, I stopped in at the one in Rio Rancho and ordered two Carne Asada tacos. Now I have made tacos at home and will dip my tortillas in some hot oil to crisp them up just a bit and then drain them so they aren't that greasy. Sure there is still some, but not that much. These two tacos from Gardunos were so greasy, it was literally dripping off of the taco like a leaky faucet. A drip a second for the whole time I was eating it. I would guess at least a teaspoon or two of dripping grease pooled on my plate from each taco. Now I sat wondering, what preparation method would require that much grease? Is the meat literally swimming in grease? Are the tortillas soaked in grease instead of quick fried and drained? Being a farily decent cook, I am at a loss as to how you could get that much grease on a taco. Even Jack in Box deep fried tacos have less grease. I will not be going back to Gardunos after today's visit.

Billy Bob

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  1. Too bad that this little local chain with deep family roots with only a handful of locations has served something so unexpectedly dreadful. Next time you go, go, check numerous earlier posts on this Southwest board for other recommendations.

    1. There is no Garduno's in Rio Rancho. Are you thinking of the one in Albuquerque on Coors Blvd.? Sorry you had a bad time; I've been there dozens of times and never had anything as bad as what you describe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: festivarian

        My bad, I thought the one at Cottonwood mall was Rio Rancho. I guess you have to go up the hill to be in Rio Rancho. Yes, I am talking aobut the one on Coors road.

        Billy Bob

      2. Garduno's is not the best that there is in ABQ but it is far from the worst. And has been posted, there is no Garduno's in Rio Rancho. There's a Hot Tamales on RT 528 near Intel. It is okay, but nothing special. There is place on Sara [1600 Sara Rd Se ]
        , just west of 528 called LasCazeules. It is a little place, and they have really good NM food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DebitNM

          Cazuela's closed a while ago and a barbecue place just opened in it's place (about a month ago). I haven't tried it yet, so I can't vouch for it at all.

        2. Ha! I live in Phoenix, so my husband and I visited the Gardunos near the football stadium in Westgate. The food was awful. I have never, ever experienced bland Mexican food in my life. Ever. Even from other chain restaurants, but this place was just terrible. Completely under-seasoned. Most chain restaurants over salt their food, so this was a really strange experience for me. I added salt to my plate of food, hoping it would help, but it did not. The salsa was OK, so I dumped what was left from the salsa and chips on my plate, but that didn't help either.

          As a matter of fact, the sopapillas they serve at the end of the meal were saltier than the food I ordered for dinner. But the sopapillas were tough and chewy, not pillow-y and soft.

          Anyway, our service was horrific as well. The server barely acknowledged us. She was not attentive. We had to ask several times for drink refills. And after she told us the sopapillas are "complementary", we had to remind her to bring us a basket when our meal was finished. Needless to say, we are NEVER going back.

          I have since found out from a friend who used to live in New Mexico that several of their locations have shut down or gone out of business.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jewel4352

            My favorite place is Sadie's down near the river. Can drive there but don't know the address.
            Best Carne Adovado I've found. Order it Christmas (red and green chili mix). Just hot enough. Comes with beans and papitas (potatoes) and sopapillas
            Expect to wait, busy place.

            1. re: jewel4352

              Ditto my experience some time back at the Scottsdale Road location. I am not sure how they keep their doors open but then Garcia's and Macayo manage to keep theirs open as well. No accounting for tastes I guess.

              1. re: jewel4352

                I am not much of a Gardunos fan. I have heard that they soon will all be closeing down. It may just be gossip. We will just have to wait and see.

                1. re: chilefix

                  That would be cool. Then maybe we can get another steakhouse to move in. ;>)

                  1. re: chilefix

                    While recently in ABQ, I saw that Garduno's hopes to go national with 600 locations!

                    I also noted that Cazuela's on Sara closed; the BBQ place has gotten some good press. I'll have to check it out next visit in May.

                    1. re: DebitNM

                      Cazuela's didn't close, they just moved from their old location. They are about a half mile east of their old location, still on Sara Road, I think, but east a few blocks of Rio Rancho Blvd, across the road from Intel. I've had some pretty good food there at their new place. Plan to go back, check a few more items out.

                2. I'm not surprised by all the negative feedback about Garduno's. My wife a couple of years ago--we ordered an appetizer combination--and it was disgraceful. Gloppy old velveta cheese sauce, previously frozen "taquitos" or some such things--I'd be ashamed to serve anything this bad in my home. Nonetheless, we went back one time for a Sunday brunch, and the stuff--fajitas or whatever--wasn't bad right off the grill, but it was still overpriced and overhyped, and the tortillas tasted store-bought. What I cannot understand is why so many people eat that stuff; perhaps, as one poster observed, they do have the intent (and mediocre-to-awful talent) to go national. Really bad, a wild-ass aberration, an abomination, an insult to Mexican and New Mexican cookery. Like Pizza Hut moving into Chicago. Blecch!