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What's all the fuss about Jose's in Cambridge?

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Went last night and waited 40 minutes after my original 8:30 reservation with almost 20 other people who had waited even longer than me (an hour plus). When we were finally seated it was 50 minutes from when we ordered our food to when it arrived at our table - the couple who was seated 15 minutes after us were getting their doggie bags when our plates arrived. After all this we got our food to go and got out of there!

Everyone raves about this "hidden jewel" but when I finally ate my chile relleno it wasn't even close to the best I'd had - next time I'll just go to Ole...

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  1. Actually, I just had two of the best chile rellenos of my life at Angela's Cafe, and this is coming from someone who doesn't actually much like chile rellenos, which are usually better in theory than in practice.

    1. Based on your comments above I searched the Boston board for the "raves about this hidden jewel" - I couldn't find any. I found a number of folks defending it as decent Tex-Mex style comfort food; I also found some people saying it was much better than they had expected because they expected it to be kind of awful. Where exactly did you hear the fuss in the first place?

      If you want some Mexican food worth making a fuss over, get over to East Boston and eat at Angela's Cafe. Good live music on a Saturday night, too!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Allstonian

        Ditto Allstonian. I've had some decent meals, some great drinks, and some terrible service.

      2. I've found that food and service can vary wildly at Joses. If you get seated upstairs things can be a nightmare; we had a really bad experience there in Dec, only a month after a terrific dinner in Oct that I posted about. The other bog negative is that if you are waiting, there's almost nowhere to wait.

        On the plus side, there are margaritas, and there's a parking lot, unlike at Angela's!

        1. no fuss here, though to my surprise I had some tasty pozole one night at jose's.

          1. My questions would be "What fuss?" and "Who's raving?" I've been here a handful of times over the years, and thought it was decent but not great, ultimately concluding it's more work to get out to its remote North Cambridge location than was really worth it to me.

            I definitely don't see it getting a lot of play on Chowhound. So where's all this purported buzz coming from?

            1. The last time I heard of a fuss about it was over 20 years ago...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Karl S

                Yeah, and about 20 years ago it was one of the only decent options for Mexican food in eastern Mass. No longer the case, and no longer worth the drive. Though I do reember decent guacamole and margaritas, and a very, very long wait even then.

                1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                  Of course, if you live nearby, it's not a bad option. As long as you don't arrive starving (as I've noted in previous threads re: Jose's).

                  1. re: litchick

                    Agreed.

              2. I don't understand it either. The buzz I hear is from many of our friends who think the place is just fabulous - I have been there a few times over the years and have always been disappointed. I actually much prefer the Border Cafe for ordinary Tex-Mex food w/unadventurous friends . . . .

                1. I'll stick up for Jose's a bit. Never had service or a wait as bad as you describe there. The main reason I go to Jose's is that it's close to home, some of the dishes are not bad at all (sometimes you are just in the mood for a big ass plate of meat, tortillas, rice, and beans), they have pretty good margaritas, and -- usually -- you can get in without a reservation, at least midweek. Let me put it this way: it's a fine neighborhood place, not a destination. Would never take friends there from out of town. But if you're in the mood for standard Americanized Mexican food and a few strong drinks -- and admit it, sometimes you are -- it's a perfectly fine place to go.

                  1. About 10 years ago, it used to be a cool place with fresh, cheap food, friendly service and great drinks. I think ownership changed at some point. I went back a year or so ago after moving out of the area and had terrible service and bland food--not to mention the prices increased and I was being given a lot less food for my money.

                    1. I'm with you 100%. Only dined there once and was very disappointed. Their guacamole had the texture & taste of one found at Taco Bell. Ole definitely a much better option.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: joebelt

                        On friday, a friend and I went to our usual lunch spot, Tacos Lupita in Somerville. To our surprise, the restaurant was filled with kids on a lunch field trip. We left and decided on Jose's, since my friend said that it got some love on Chowhound. We stepped in and were greeted by an extremely cute, short, pretty waitress. There was nowhere yet to sit so we waited. A few other people came behind us and waited just inside the doorway behind us. Apparently, a couple before us had gotten the last table. We were seated within ten minutes. I'm not going to write a long review, because aside from the cute waitress and cozy restaurant, there isn't much to say besides pointing out the excellent free salsa with chips. The wait for our food was long. My chicken taco was flavorless. The beef taco was a bit better but both needed the salsa (from the chips & salsa) for flavor. The rice & veggies on the side were from a package and a frozen bag. My friend says this about his chimichanga. "fine, just ok. Nothing to rave about. The guacamole didn't appear to be fresh--more like the packaged stuff in the produce section."

                        Jose's wasn't worth our time.

                      2. I've been there several times because friends want to go... I think the appeal is that it has easy parking, it's not that expensive and decor/atmosphere seems fun. The food itself is pretty mediocre and I thought too salty. Ole has much better food/margaritas but seems a little too serious.