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Apr 2, 2007 12:44 PM

Is Guerro's done for

I was watching the movies reviews recently (Ebert and some gal) and they reviewed the new Tarantino, Rodriguez flick called "Grindhouse". The first part is by Rodriguez and the second by Tarantino. In the clip from the second part the antagonist speaks of Austin and speaks of hanging out at Guerro's. I wonder what the effect this will have on Guerro's business. I can anticipate that everyone coming to A. now will want to see Guerro's and it could be too much of a good thang. Am I crazy or what?

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  1. Guero's was done for about 10 years ago. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: chucklesmcfarland

      IMHO, it was DOA. Pretty nasty stuff. Never could understand the appeal...

    2. As far as I know, everyone who comes to Austin already visits Guero's. This will just put them one step closer to turning into the Hard Rock Cafe of Mexican food.

      1. Guero's jumped the shark a long time ago.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ken W

          Jumped the shark? Whence that quaint little aphorism?

          1. re: singlemalt

            jumped the shark is actually a term used to refer to sitcoms - never really heard it applied to a restaurant but hey - the idea holds :P

            1. re: kalex

              Kalex- Thanks a lot. Now that is a term I have plenty of use for. I have always thought that most sitcoms should run two seasons at the most then hang it up. For me, the shark bites early. ( Oh, the shark's teeth are pearly white dear)
              Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

        2. Everybody is always so hard on Guero's. I can see why, given the absurd waits for a seat. If you value your time at all, and are annoyed by crowded and noisy halls, Guero's is miserable on rushy days.

          But Guero's is far from completely busted, as far as cuisine is concerned. Pretty Darn Good(tm)? Nah. But there are hidden gems on the menu -- OK, not gems, but tasty snacks. The place isn't as disgusting as a lot of reviewers make it sound.

          I generally don't advocate a trip to Guero's, but you'll be dragged there by someone at least once a year. Here is a survival guide.

          If you like classic Americanized Tex-Mex chile con queso, Guero's is one of the best. This is due to the free pico and pickled jalapenos you can go grab at any time. Order this app, go grab four tiny bowls of the pico, one or two of the japs, and dump them in. Be warned that the juices in the pico bowls will cool your queso down, making it sort of crappy: use a fork to drain the juices off first, then dump the delicious tomato, onion, and fresh jalapeno bits into the queso! Sometimes this move is necessary with the jalapenos, depending on how deep in the bowl you dug for them.

          The guacamole is decent at Guero's, but given the absurd price-to-portion ratio, I recommend avoiding it.

          Their best items, in my opinion, are their shrimp tacos and their fish tacos. This is not to say they're ready to stand against the tacos from El Meson (for example). Rather, I merely mean to say that their shrimp tacos on flour and their fish tacos (flour or corn) are both pretty good, really, especially if you're in a seafoody mood. Edge to the shrimp, but I think they're also more expensive.

          The pastor isn't bad, usually. I have to say usually because the pastor is erratic. Some days it is actually bad, although those days are rare. They've given you a way to sample the pastor in advance, if a pastor taco is something you desire. Simply order their "silver dollar" pastor taco (about $1.50, if memory serves). If it tastes good, follow up with more, or the full-sized pastor tacos.

          For breakfast, they're almost empty, but when I've been there they've happily served the whole menu. They also serve breakfast all day. Their huevos rancheros are bland.

          The beans, chips, and tortillas here aren't anything special, but they're about average for the genre (Gringo Mex, I believe MPH has named it.)

          Good luck!

          16 Replies
          1. re: tom in austin

            Thanks for going out on a limb. Agreed. Best fish tacos in town. Pair it with an El Centenario. And the Al Mojo de Ajo is pretty damn good, too.

            1. re: tom in austin

              well, I agree. It's lackluster at best. you hit it right on the head with your pastor paragraph. A "sample" taco alone is $1.50. Yikes. Food is overpriced and uneventful at best. Let all the California transplants with money to throw away to see and be seen go and leave the good places to us.

              1. re: amysuehere

       nice to us transplants! We're people too (some of us are even 'hounds)!! Besides, without CA transplants, who would buy up all those 'Texas Tuscan" homes on the westside?

                Never been to Guerro's, and it's not on my shortlist. As Tom says, I'll likely get dragged there sooner or later, so I appreciate the "Survival Guide"!!!

                1. re: Bababooey

                  okay. SOME of you are okay, but having to live out here in "the land of the bland" some of you are just plain nutty. (grin)

                  1. re: amysuehere

                    ALL Californians are nutty! I actually don't consider my self a Californian, though I lived there for 7 years. I grew up In Colorado, so hopefully that buys be SOME consideration?

                    1. re: Bababooey

                      A considerable amount...but we digress.

                      I think Guerro's is a prime example of how "seen and be seen spots" (which in the early days wasn't even an Austin-ish consideration) are now misinterpreted at "chowish" spots, imho

                2. re: amysuehere

                  Yikes. Fair amount of vitriol flowing here towards a restaurant and now towards the people who eat there. I'm not sure I understand how a restaurant can provoke such heated, and at times hyperbolic, pontification. Is it because Guero's has been an institution for so long that it has become tiresome (in the same way that some people bash SXSW or Sixth Street)? Or perhaps because they somehow "sold out"? I'm a little confused because I've seen posts here about restaurant chains (which I avoid at all costs), but none of those have provoked the kind of responses that Guero's has.

                  BTW, I'm a native Texan with roots that go back 180 years. And I still think they have the best fish tacos in town.

                  1. re: Twill

                    I'm a native Texan and I've never found anything there remotely interesting and it's always crowded with a crowd I've found to have a "non-Texas vibe"...and it's crazy-expensive for what it is...

                    But this isn't the first time I've been completely out of whack with the general population of this board. I'm a rebel that way.

                    1. re: amysuehere

                      Yeah - I bash SXSW and Sixth Street - I admit it - but that's just because I'm getting old. ;-P

                      As far as Guero's is concerned, years ago I really liked it - would take people there from out of town, it was a fun, decent place. But over my last several visits, the food quality, to me, seemed to be in steady decline. That, combined with the absurd waits at times, basically wrote them off for me. If I was with a group of people who wanted to go, I would go along without complaint - there are worse places. But I don't seek it out anymore.

                      And yeah - jumping the shark generally is associated with sitcoms. But it just seemed to fit here as well.

                      1. re: Ken W

                        I think I'm just used to going there on a lazy Saturday for margaritas and fish tacos. No wait, no ugly crowds, decent service and maybe they pay more attention to the food as well. It's apparently just a difference in taste or perception or a little of both.

                        1. re: Twill

                          How about a lazy Tuesday? Aren't they now packed completely sunup to sundown on Sat?

                          I alwyas order their fish taco and achiote orange chicken taco. Cost something 3.50 or $4 a piece, but then so does Taco Deli. Last time, I had about twenty inches of what looked like dental floss in one of my tacos. I was like "what the hell?" The funny thing was they removed my plate immediately and a manager came out within seconds, looking extremely concerns. They "investigated," coming back to tell me that it was the "tie" for the tortilla wrapper.

                          No that it matters, I would go back - they do make a good margarita, albeit somewhat expensive. Let us know how your visit turns out.

                          Regardless, wish that I'd started a taco place and ended up with that spot on Congress, packed to the gills every night, with free Hollywood advertising. I think that my tendency, though, would be to try and make the food extremely and utterly awesome.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            The lack of chaos must be due to the fact that, for me, lazy Saturday=3 p.m. dining. Or maybe I've just been lucky.

                            The fact is, there are about three or four items on the menu that I return fairly regularly to have. And for these particular items, I haven't noticed any consistent decline in quality over the 5 or 6 years I've been having them (sure, there are dips occasionally). And the margaritas suit me because they're more rudimentary than the sugary-sweet versions you find at 90% of restaurants and bars.

                            I understand that restaurants are subject to a change in their reception based on an increase in popularity and the influx of different and/or new constituencies. Quite honestly, this can probably be best explained by the exponential increase in popularity of South Congress over the last 2-3 years as both a tourist area and funky pseudo hipster locus.

                            1. re: Twill

                              RE: the margs at Guerros "they're more rudimentary than the sugary-sweet versions you find at 90% of restaurants and bars"

                              Please give detail? I go through much effort at home to squeeze lemons and limes to make my margaritas. If a restaurant does the same, I'm there. Any marg made with bottled sweet&sour mix is garbage to me...

                              1litre fresh lemon + 1 litre fresh lime + 1lb sugar: use to mix with platinum tequila and Cointreau for the perfect "Silver Coin" margs!

                              1. re: Bababooey

                                The mix that Guero's uses is short on sugar, so the margaritas tend to have a more rustic taste, imho. They're a bit more tart than you would expect out of restaurant grade. Since they have about 8-9 different types, there's the opportunity to mix and match, e.g. they use a variety of different tequilas and they include versions with triple sec and grand marnier. Based on your recipe, I'd assume that they actually use a little less sugar which means a sour rita that allows the flavor of the tequila and complemetary liquor to come through. Just my take, though.

                                My favorite is the El Centenario, though the Don is fine if you just want a straight version.

                    2. re: Twill

                      If you want to curse a restaurant for selling out I recommend Curra's. I used to eat there quite often in the 90s till they re branded themselves as upscale, changed the menu (eliminating all the cheap eats) and started hemorraging employees.

                  2. re: tom in austin

                    the shrimp fajitas are loaded w tomatillo slices and mushrooms and pico that all smack of grill drippings-YOM! 2 people could probably share the order for one...delicious. all the other meats are dry....except,ironically... the soy chorizo,which is SO good...tell your vegans! service is spotty..esp from this one dude,who has been there so long he should be killer. but mostly, i am a sucker for the the strong mercifully UNsweet rocks margaritas...herradura silver and cointreau,y'all. order carefully...and stay away from the "beef" filling...unless you like scraps.

                  3. I don't remember the last week night i've been there that i wasn't horrified by the Cougars and Frat boy atmousphere. Guerro's is long gone for Austinites, hit Curra's instead. Oh, if I wasn't pregnant and in California, i would be slurping down an avocado margarita right now!