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May 31, 2007 10:00 PM

Casa Chapala

What a bummer.

Long week, so we decided to eat at home last night. And we wanted fajitas! So I checked out Casa Chapala over on Anderson near Shoal Creek since it was close to home.

They advertise themselves as being specialists in "authentic interior [Mexican] cuisine" and based on my many travels to the interior and south of Mexico, the menu reads right.

But when I got home with the food I was not too thrilled. The $27 fajita dinner for two was very low on meat. We actually separated it out from all the veggies and put it on the diet scale where it came in at just about 8 ounces of meat- for $27...

The cheeses and style of guacamole were certainly not "authentic interior" and the low grade store bought corn tortillas were a serious drag (good homemade ones reheat quite nicely- these were cardboard from the bag and just got worse with heating.)

All that said, the actual texture of the meat was quite nice and the grilled vegetables were outstanding. The onions were perfect- and while not "authentic interior" the mushrooms were quite delightful and a welcome twist. I am obsessed with mushrooms and these were absolutely awesome. I think this place could do a mixed mushroom fajita grill and start a new trend!

Given that, and the tiny size of the dinner crowd when I retrieved our food, it seems like this place had some very good ideas but is resorting to cost-cutting measures to stay afloat. A shame, but what can you do, you know?

In any event, eager for other opinions from those who might have tried other dishes there. I did not make any friends when offering them my feedback on our food, but I want to find a good reason to give this place my support.

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    1. Yup. I've been back once since my original visit and ordered their beef fajitas. My sentiments are about the same as yours. There are some things this place could peak my interest with, but their prices are just downright ludicrous.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jwynne2000

        they have a $16 bowl of soup. that better be the best soup in the world.

      2. Just an FYI... I've been there twice and thought that something was off. It really didn't seem like interior Mexican and it didn't seem like Tex-Mex. A little research let me to find out that they are a family and chain from Kennewick, Washington! Seems like a stretch to go from a Northern State to Texas and I'm sure that they are the best Mexican food you can find up there. I haven't been too disappointed by my two meals I've had there, but now that you mention those prices I might think twice. I was already hesitating on the whole Washington thing... what can I say, I grew up on the border!! I do think it is worth people trying and deciding for themselves, I hate to see a family make that big of risk not to be given a fair shot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: 7Towers

          I went a couple of weeks after it opened. The salsa was an interesting concept, but so-so at best. Our dinner arrived and it was inedible. To me, it tasted an attempt at Tex-Mex, but using "interior" seasonings.

          We told the manager we didn't like it, and he was very apologetic, although he explained that they were "authentic" Mexican food. No offense, but "authentic" to Washington state may not be the same as authentic to Texans.

          Oh well, another place off the list...

        2. Went here once and will not return. Although we were perhaps the only table in the restaurant (it was early around 5:30 or 6) we had TERRIBLE service. Our waiter rarely returned and the food runner when asked if he could refill our drinks said we needed to ask the waiter, who didn't return for quite some time. Food is way overpriced and not tasty. Salsa was so-so and chips were crumbs and grease soaked (seemed like the bottom of the fry barrel).

          1 Reply
          1. re: ashes

            my wife and i ate there one night last week. we had queso flameado which we both enjoyed, but i am not sure how hard it is to melt cheese and add chorizo. i had a softball game later that night, so i didnt want to eat much, so we split the beef fajitas for one -- she doesn't eat beans and rice, so i ate all of that and one fajita. the fajitas were very good, tasty and well cooked. although i will say the amount of beef on the skillet was definetly on the small side. the manager came up and enthusaistically welcomed us, which i appreciated.

            based on that experience, we went back over the weekend. wow. what a different experience. this time we sat towards the front of the restaraunt near the station that has the sign over it reading "fresh tortillas." there were ladies back there heating up store bought tortillas and throwing them into warmers. i went and peeked because the opening was blocked by a pyramid of warmers. the last time we were there i noted that they did not make their own tortillas, but it seemed a little lame that they had a "fresh tortillas" station and sign as if to imply they were homemade back there.

            my wife ordered the enchiladas blancas (one of each), which advertisied as "smothered in a rich cream salsa." they came out with really no sauce at all. the cheese enchilada was pretty good, the chicken and beef were nothing special at all. again, dry with no sauce.

            i ordered a dinner salad and the campechana, which was supposed to be shrimp, oysters, and octopus, simmered in fresh salsa, avacado in a seafood broth.
            wow. the dinner salad was $2.75 and was some shreeded icebreg, one piece of tomato, and freaking bottled ranch. other than mom and pop taqeurias, i cannot think of any place where store bought bottled ranch is acceptable. i ate one bite and pushed it aside. how hard is it to buy some milk and a spice packet, at a minimum?
            the campechana -- ugh. it was a large handful of baby shrimp, 3 medium shrimp, one oyster, and no octopus, simmered in watered down pico. i don't know where they come up with "seafood broth." and it was $14.95. i ate three bites and puished it away. the top shelf margarita was so sweet i had to water it down with ice from my water glass just to drink it.

            i live very close by, so i was hoping it would be a good neighborhood joint i could hit, but i don't know if i can overcome that visit. maybe someone else can offer some suggestions of good items other than the fajitas.