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Angela's Criticism

OK, at the risk of being stoned by everyone on the board, I visited my favorite Mexican eatery yesterday after a long absence and was surprised at a few changes I noticed.
We ordered the "regular" size guacamole and we got a MUCH smaller portion that what was typically served in the past for the $8.95 pricetag. I swear, it was made using a half of a single avocado. This much smaller portion was accompanied by a very small basket of chips, also MUCH smaller that what has been served in the past. We ran out of chips because so few were served and we had to request more. Also, when served the basket of chips, it was accompanied by a small side of green sauce, but no red sauce, as has been the case in the past, so we had to ask for the side of the red sauce.
Our server was the owner, so clearly he is aware of the "skimping" on portion sizes.
Everything else about the meal was the same except for the service, which was borderline terrible. Our drinks never arrived and we had to ask for them. We asked for ice to be served alongside our sodas and we never got it...
We had to ask for everything...including the check.
I have always been in love with this place but suddenly, they are really cutting back on all the things I loved about them...decent portion sizes and great service. I doubt I will be back as the trip to East Boston isn't that convenient and isn't worth it anymore. Bummer.

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  1. Too bad about that experience. I had the guac a couple of weeks ago and it seemed the same as ever to me: a good molcajete-ful. Service was fine on a packed Sunday (we actually had to wait 10 minutes for a table, a first.) Can't explain how you got the short end, but I wouldn't give up. I do remember Jose complaining a few months back about how expensive avocados were getting (due to the first pangs of higher gas prices, mostly), and the price of the guac did go up then.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. my recollection from last time i was there (2 weeks ago?) was that they now have 2 sizes of guacamole, including a small portion (smaller than the huge molcajete). maybe there was a goof and you ordered (and were charged for) the large but were brought a small instead? that would seem more likely than sporadically serving radically smaller portions. (since last time i was there we got a large order of the guacamole, and it was the usual size, and just as delicious as ever.)

      4 Replies
      1. re: autopi

        the large guacamole is ENORMOUS. so delicious it's hard to stop, but when it"s just 2 having dinner, it's way too much, and my b/f has a big appetite. then again, plenty of proof on these boards that what somebody considers a decent portion size can vary greatly from poster to poster.

        as for having to ask for the check, i never see that as a ding. instead i perceive it as them not wanting diners to feel like they're getting the bums' rush. while the servers i have had at angela's have all been very nice, they weren't the most polished.

        i live in eastie. i also don't expect every single place (unless i'm at a 3-star michelin) to be 100% all the time. in my book, your complaints seem kinda small.

        ymmv.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Having spent a lot of time in Mexico, I can say that the check is rarely presented; until asked for.

          This is a cultural thing and is not the same as in the USA.

          I enjoy it because I never feel rushed and lingering at the end of a nice meal is encouraged.

          When you're ready to leave, politely ask for the check.

          Bravo to Angela's for bringing that "way" here.

        2. re: autopi

          I thought perhaps they had maybe made a mistake and given us a small order, but the cost on the bill was for a larger order, so who knows. I have had the guac many, many times before so I am very familiar with the typical size of the portion. At any rate, I'll give you the whole "they don't want to bother you so they wait for you to ask for the check" thing...it is that way in Mexico. I guess since we felt ignored the entire time and had to ask for several things, that was the icing on the cake.

          1. re: bostongal

            I have to say, I really enjoyed our meal at Angela's, but I honestly thought the guac was just ok. Yeah, they made it fresh right in front of us (we were sitting at the bar), but it wasn't all that flavorful. I wanted to ask for some extra lime and salt to doctor it up a bit. Maybe I'm just spoiled by my own rendition, but I wasn't all that impressed.
            On the other hand, I thought the chicken mole was phenomenal and I'd definitely head back there for that.

        3. you shouldn't count out a trip to east boston just because you don't want to go back to angela's. there are lots of other great restaurants in the area

          1. Everyone can have his/her own opinion about tastes, portions, service, and everything else, but I give you a lot of credit for daring to give your own honest review of a place that is so highly praised on this board. Don't get me wrong, I love the mole, but it's been a while since I've been back, so I don't know how things are now.

            7 Replies
            1. re: marilees

              Fecalface agrees, he thinks your comments are very informative. Thanks for sharing.

              So many hounds are price insensitive and not concerned with value when dining, which is shocking given this is a college town. While fecal enjoys Angela's quite a bit, the community should not criticize someone for being value-oriented in their reviews. Fecal thinks $9 for guac, even if it is outstanding guac, is too much unless the portion feeds 3+.

              1. re: fecalface

                Yes, this is a college town, but I'm not sure why that would explain price sensitivity/insensitivity among the vast majority of us who are not college students. (Also, the college I went to taught me to refer to myself in the first person.)

                On the issue of Angela's service and value, there is, of course, nothing wrong with the OP sharing his negative views about his experience. But let's remember how extraordinary of a place -- in terms of food, service AND value -- that Angela's has been for these past couple of years. So let's be careful about writing it off too quickly. Based on my experiences at Angela's, I'm guessing this was a one-off experience. Certainly if that proves not to be the case, let's discuss it, but I hope none of us is considering not going back just because one person had one less-than-satisfactory experience.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Clearly, someone needs to go to Angela's, order the large guacamole, and see if it's the same size as always. For comparative purposes, they should also order an additional small guacamole.

                  I am willing to take this particular bullet in the name of CH edification.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    Barmy - Ditto on autopi below! But that doesn't mean you can't go and order a large AND a small for comparison purposes (of course, it's a tough job!)

                2. re: fecalface

                  > thinks $9 for guac, even if it is outstanding guac, is too much unless the portion feeds 3+.

                  it does, actually.

                  1. re: autopi

                    Not if the portions shrunk, as the OP is suggesting. That is kinda the entire point, isn't it?

                    1. re: fecalface

                      the $9 serving is a huge molcajete full. the OP was erroneously given the small portion, even though s/he was charged for the larger one. the portions have not shrunk, there was a mistake in the OP's case.

              2. Looks to me like there was a simple billing mistake here. I will start to worry only when a few Hounds report similar experiences.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1 Reply
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  OK, ok...I'll give them another try...maybe it was a one time error or an isolated incident. Although, I do agree with twentyoystahs that the guac this time was also very bland...it didn't have its usual helping of cilantro in it, so it was a bit less flavorful than I remember. I guess I owe it to them to give it another try. I'll report back. And I do agree that $9 is a lot for guac but the portion was so big and it was so yummy that it was worth it in the past...we'll see.

                2. I was just at Angela's last night, and my portions were the same as always, I got the green AND the red salsa to start, and my service was friendly and attentive. That said, when we got there at 6pm, the place was totally dead. By the time we left at 7:30, the single waitress seemed to be falling behind with her other customers. I feel like, if I'd gotten there later, I would have had many of the complaints as the OP (guac aside). I do think that they're often understaffed, and I've definitely had Angela's experiences that involve a lot of WAITING (for water, for drinks, for the check (even after it's been requested)). But I love the food, so I keep going back!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: erinire

                    It's an irony that this place survives mostly on its American-cuisine breakfast and lunch trade, the old diner/sandwich-shop business they took over in that space.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        According to Luis, that's what pays the bills. Given the number of slow weeknight dinner services I've seen, I believe him.

                        So, go dine there Monday to Thursday nights. They need the business then.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          You know, it does strike me as odd that when I go, everyone around me is eating eggs...I am always surprised that they can resist the mexican cuisine as it is SO good! And I mainly go on weekends around 3PM to avoid any waiting, but people are still eating breakfast fare!

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            Wow - that's Capital K - Ka-razy! I wouldn't think of ordering diner food there...not in a million visits (unless maybe I lived in the neighborhood). I guess I will put it on the radar for a weeknight soon. Thanks for the info.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              For what it's worth, I just received the latest Boston Magazine today and they rated Angela's 5 stars for its guacamole ("the ultimate guacamole"). Ole got 4.5 stars, Casa Romero, 3 stars; La Verday, 2.5 stars; and Sol Azteca, 2 stars.

                    1. My sister just flew in from Minneapolis for a week's visit, and BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I took advantage of her late-morning arrival to drag her off to an early lunch at Angela's and check out the situation. (Plus we haven't been in ages and it was a good excuse!)

                      I am sincerely sorry for bostongal, who ordered a large guacamole and was billed for same while being served a small. It is definitely annoying when there's a mistake in the bill, especially when it doesn't get corrected. However, we definitely got a large order - it was all the three of us could do to polish it off before our giant combo platter of appetizers (taco arabe, taco al pastor, chicken mole gordita, pulled pork tostada, and shrimp ceviche tostada), tamales, fish tacos, and flautas arrived. Tons of food for three hungry hounds, coffee for my sister and two horchatas apiece for Barmy and me, and it set us back $20 per person plus tip. Still worth the trip via T from Allston for us.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Allstonian

                        sounds d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s - I plan on heading over tonight! Thanks.

                      2. They are probably one of the few places that serves fantastic weekday brunch. A friend went last week and was able to order brunch food a 2PM on a weekday.