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El Sarape, Braintree= terrible!

Hi, I'm new to the board and found it when searching for restaurant reviews in the Boston area. I was searching because I had a truly awful experience tonight and wanted to warn others ;) Looking foward to some good recomendations!
My husband and I visited El Sarape in Braintree for what we thought would be an inexpensive, good mexican meal. To start from the beginning, as we were seated we were served tap water in glasses with food caked on them. We didn't mention it so as not to be rude but just hoped it would improve. Next we were served margaritas in glasses that were still hot from the dishwasher. Not really what you expect when you order a cold beverage but, hey, at least we knew they washed these ones!
And it only got worse when the food arrived.. I ordered the chicken enchiladas and they arrived lukewarm, full of dark meat, covered with the saltiest tomato sauce I have ever tasted.
My husband had the tacos which he said were edible but definitely not good.
To top it all off it was at least 80 degrees in the restaurant and we were seated so close to the next party that we had to be careful not to bump elbows!
All that to say, stay away!

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  1. For what it's worth, I've been to El Sarape several times and have been consistently impressed--fantastic margaritas (served in cold glasses, btw), good service, excellent food. (I'm especially high on the chicken with green peppers, bacon and mushrooms.)

    1. Been a few years, but my experience was better: a good-not-great, Yanqui-flavored Mexican place.

      1. Live in Braintree, and El Sarape is probably the restaurant I frequent more than any other. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but I don't think its representative. I've never had any dirty glasses, but I will admit to the occasional hot margarita glass when they're busy...not ideal, but I just drink it fast and hope the next one's cold!

        Also, would suggest some alternatives from the menu to anyone who is considering a trip. I tried both the tacos and enchiladas early on, and they are nothing special (though I do like the enchiladas mole, but I don't mind dark meat).

        If you like enchiladas, try their burritos which are very similar to an enchilada - two tortillas of chicken and cheese with your choice of green or red sauce. I strongly prefer their green sauce, which is delicious. Another standard, safe option are the fajitas.

        My personal favorites are the pollo en salsa de mango and the carne asada plate, which comes with an enchilada, chorizo and guac. The guac is really good, though portion sizes are small (two scoops for the app...nothing like Angela's bowl - yum). Also think they do a good mole, and their nachos (refried beans, cheese, jalepenos) are simple and delicious. That said, the regular chips and salsa are good too - if a bit oniony.

        Love their margaritas, and the service outside of one surly guy is excellent. Give this place a try if you're in the area.

        1. Must have been an off night. We've eaten there about once a month for the past 4-5 years and have never experienced as bad as that. Maybe sitting at the bar makes a difference.

          1. I've never had such a horrific experience at El Serape. It's reasonably priced, decent Mexican food in a region that doesn't excel in Mexican food. The margaritas are good and the salsa has some zip, unlike the watery, bland salsa at the Acapulcos that have sprung up throughout Metro West. I've never had a terrific meal at El Serape, but I've never felt cheated, or worse, ill, either.

            1. I think the food is very good at El Sarape. My favorites are the rellenos, Pork Caseros, Chilaquiles, and the pollo al a naranja. I will say this though, the service is usually less than stellar, the tables are close, and sometimes the meal is rushed but for some reason i don't mind these things and almost expect them. go figure. It's one of those places i go to for the food...and nothing else.

              1. My experience at El Sarape was middling, but I'll agree that it's much better than La Paloma. The really odd thing that stood out is when I asked the waitress if they served fish tacos, and she responded with a "What? Fish tacos?? No, I've never even heard of that." I know I can't assume, but she looked Latina at least - but her voice and look was so incredulous that you'd think I asked for grilled armadillo or something. It really made me question how authentic that place was.

                9 Replies
                1. re: kobuta

                  I think, for the most part, the food is Yucatan based. Fish tacos are more Vera Cruz and western coast of Mexico.

                  1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                    Yeah, but even I have heard of certain Southern foods, despite growing up in the northeast. I wouldn't think the idea of a fish taco is so foreign. If someone came up here and asked me for chitlins, I may not be able to offer anything, but I wouldn't look at the person like she had 3 heads.

                      1. re: kobuta

                        you are a foodie....

                        you post on chowhound....

                        average people walking around think Cheesecake Factory is gourmet.

                        last fall after i got back from mexico I was raving about some fish tacos i had People looked at me like I was out of my mind. as if i ate raw warthog anus like Bourdain in Namibia. I am not kidding....

                        1. re: ac106

                          I get that look from most of my friends when I tell them I love sushi...

                          1. re: ac106

                            Fish tacos are REALLY shocking! If they are not on the Taco Bell menu...
                            which actually leads to an interesting question - if McD's has the fish-wich, why couldn't TB add some fish nuggets and do fish tacos? That would be cool!

                            MWK - your friends still raise eyebrows about sushi?! That really is shocking! Stop and Shop has sushi for cryin' out loud. Who are these Philistines you call friends?

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              Yes, I know, I know. But the thought of raw fish is "icky" to them.

                              Needless to say, my partner and I tend to dine out by ourselves most times.

                            2. re: ac106

                              I haven't had raw warthog anus (which needs a better marketing name, like Chilean sea bass instead of Patagonian toothfish -- perhaps phaco-cloaca sashimi), but I though the stag penis soup I was served at a banquet in the PRC was pretty good.


                              1. re: ac106

                                If I asked someone at Cheesecake Factory, I wouldn't have been surprised. But I was asking the waitress at the a Mexican restaurant - yeah, not Taco Bell. And for the record, fish tacos have been served in Boston (albeit not widely) since the 80s. :(