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Yes 98% of what they make is bad but the_______is fantastic!

I am often asked by friends, "I feel like great Mexican food, what is that place you go to all the time" and I cringe...the food for the most part is bad, not just uninspired but that "Old School" lumps of undefinable food under red sauce and melted cheese kind of bad. Oh, but the warm house made chips and peppery salsa bring me back over and over again...that and the best Margarita I have ever had one too many of! I go all the time, eat my weight in chips and salsa, drink many a stunning Margarita and every time, I order something off the menu only to take a few bites, (I am already full from the chips) and end up pushing the rest of the food around with my fork...other than the occasional scoop of melty cheese and red sauce for my chips. Does anyone else have a restaurant like this in their rotation?? A place that you would never recommend but eat at all the time for that one or two perfect things or is it just me?

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  1. a mexican restaurant in my town comes to mind - i like their enchiladas verdes with chicken, and occasionally their camarones allo diablo (spicy shrimp in a cream sauce with onions), but most other food looks and tastes terrible. i love those two dishes and mexican beer though so, i can't go wrong.

    1. oddly enough, it's a mexican place for me as well.

      in the very small town i work in, there's 1 mexican place, and it serves the usual combo-plate dreck. however, they have a "secret" menu for other latino/hispanics, and i stumbled onto the secret. so, i can get stuff there that most other gringos can't. i thoroughly enjoy it, but can't recommend it to others unless i go with them.

      other than that, there are a few places that i think do one menu item really well, but are otherwise pretty awful. i have no qualms about being very specific in my recommendations for those places.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mark

        A Mexican restaurant in West warwick that is bland and mostly just not good EXCEPT for their "Wings of Fire" which are awesome...

      2. We have a bar/eatery nearby that serves standard bar food---hamburgers, hot dogs, pork tenderloin sandwiches, etc. The hamburgers and such aren't inedible, but certainly not choworthy. But their fried shrimp is OUT OF THIS WORLD! They have a panko-like coating and are always fried to perfection---never greasy or over-cooked. Honestly, I've ordered fried shrimp at seafood restaurants around the country and have not found any as well-cooked as these. The price is ridiculously cheap, too. The shrimp comes with 2 sides---which sadly tend to fall into the "other" category!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Anne

          Thank goodness, I was starting to worry that it was only Mexican food....now if only I could get a basket of your shrimp and my chips and salsa and wash it down with my Margarita....

        2. Mexican for me too - the place I'm thinking of is not really bad, just kind of boring, with one exception: their spicy sauteed chicken livers (higaditos Mexicanos), which are outstanding!

          1. There is a place near me- a pub type restaurant. Most of the food is ghorrible- even the baked potatoes!! But their patty melts are wonderful- and their beer is icy cold! Would never get anything else on the menu, though!

            1. Mexican for me, too. Here in SoCal it's not at all hard to find really good, authentic Mexican food, but for some things or some moods the old-line Combo Plate touristy joints are just the ticket. El Cholo and El Coyote are the two best-known ones in LA, both serving food that ranges from pretty good to merely adequate, plus buckets of okay margaritas, to big tables of people having too much fun. We have a much cheaper version here in Pasadena, one that can't be mentioned on the LA Board without evoking disparaging remarks, but when we want to meet the neighborhood gang for some Friday-evening Margarita Therapy and big plates of cheesy enchiladas it's just the ticket. The margs are cheap and good, and the chile verde, the chiles rellenos and the bottomless basket of fresh tortilla chips are all quite nice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Will Owen

                El Cholo is only good for green corn tamales b/t May and Sept (I think those are the dates)... La Cabana in Santa Monica/Venice does margaritas and nachos well, but that's it.

              2. The one for me that I have to hit for the occasional craving... Old Spaghetti Factory. Yes, for the most part the food there just plain sucks, but one dish there is actually pretty decent: Spaghetti with browned butter and mizithra cheese. The hardest part of making it at home is finding the mizithra cheese. Just cook some spaghetti, brown the butter, toss the two together, and top with more finely shredded mizithra than you think you should. And that's it. But sometimes, you just want someone else to cook...

                1. My husband would probably say Hooters for the wings but really mean waitresses.;-)

                  1. We have a place that fits this very description in our small upstate NY city. Actually, it is a hotel restaurant -- a sports bar, really. The menu is exactly what you would expect from a generic hotel sports bar, and from what I've sampled, nothing is particularly remarkable.

                    But every Friday is fish fry night. You get a huge, often whole, fish perfectly fried, tasty batter, accompanied by a pile of hand-cut skin-on earthy, well-seasoned fries. It is strange how consistently they do this one thing right, like there is an idiot savant in the kitchen, but we''ll take it!

                    1. For me it would be Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. Olive Garden is disgusting, this soup is heavenly. Italian sausage, potatoes, an excellent, spicy broth with just a touch of cream, and big, crunchy leaves of cavolo greens. Man, it's so good.

                      1. oh absolutely, there's a place near me that makes REALLY great crabcakes and absolutely to-die-for fried green maters. their drinks are reasonably priced and if you get a mixed drink, theyre usually quite potent.

                        however, on the other hand they use frozen tuna steaks, frozen hamburger patties, all prefab desserts...etc. it's a place on the water, with docks so boats can get to it. so lots of convenience foods for when they get busy. but man. i will go there again and again for the maters and the cakes.

                        also, there was a place i went to in arizona, where everything was terrible except for a truly heavenly fried chicken made with their rosemary rotisserie chicken, which was sourced from a nearby farm. the farm, sadly, was about to close when i was last there, a little over a year ago. i had inquired as to where it was from as the quality of the chicken was very noticeable. served with quite nice sweet 'tater fries and a few happy hour pints, it was a great meal. sadly, my dining partner was not so fortunate with their choice. and recent reports have told that this fried chicken is not quite as delectable as it once was. :*(