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Enraging experience at Taqueria Mexico, Waltham

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Swankalicious Jul 17, 2012 05:51 PM

The Swank family didn't feel like cooking the other night, so off we went to Taqueria Mexico, thinking we'd get cheap food fast.
Not so much.
First of all, there's nowhere to park nearby, unless you want to abandon your car next to a frightening building with no signage. There are an abundance of parking lots, but they're all reserved for office buildings -- really convenient when it's 7 p.m.!
Anyway, we were seated promptly, but the dining room was NOISY. As in, we could barely hear ourselves talk. We were seated adjacent to some kind of teen birthday party, which was fine, except the restaurant opted to shut out the lights to sing happy birthday, which completely frightened Young Swank.
We were brought chips, salsa, and a spicy red sauce. Red sauce was great; salsa a bit too chunky/watery for our tastes.
Mr. Swank ordered pork rind tacos and I opted for shrimp in garlic sauce, which was advertised as coming with rice and salad. I also asked for adobo sauce on the side.
We waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. Plates sporadically appeared from the kitchen and found their way to other tables. Our chips were going to be refilled -- and then the waitress forgot about us. Finally, Young Swank resorted to gobbling the salsa with a fork.
This went on for one hour, all while the braying teens next to us shouted and my headache intensified.
I'm not sure why on earth our food took an hour to arrive, as the dining room was half-empty, but ... it did. And when it did appear, it was blah. Mr. Swank reported that his pork rind tacos were "sickeningly sweet." They also didn't come with any sides, so he got a side of rice, which was served clumpy in an enormous vat.
My shrimp in garlic sauce was mediocre; for one thing, there was no sauce. They were bone dry. For another, the side salad featured a few sadly sliced cukes and a huge tomato. That's it. The side of adobo was more like a watery, peppery ketchup. I dumped some on my rice, to little effect. I ended up just dipping my prawns in the chips' red sauce. I was charged $1.50 for the side of peppery sauce, despite the fact that my prawns were sauceless.
Service was completely forgetful. Outside, an assortment of unsavory people were loitering about.
Overall, an experience I won't seek out soon again.

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  1. g
    grant.cook RE: Swankalicious Jul 17, 2012 07:08 PM

    Have you tried Taqueria Amigos nearby? Its a small, hole-in-the-wall place, but I like their food..

    1. h
      hyde RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 01:48 AM

      your order had to have been lost. an actual hour? for mexican food?

      i have left home, ordered food at el Amigo, eaten, paid and been home in about that amount of time.

      1. Luther RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 07:41 AM

        This is Waltham, not Newark. I don't think you need to worry about street parking next to "frigthening" buildings... Not that I ever liked Taqueria Mexico much, but it's not like it is a bad or dangerous neighborhood.

        1. Kat RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 08:18 AM

          That is unfortunate. I have always had good experiences there. As Luther said, the neighborhood isn't dangerous, although maybe a bit rundown.

          1. Science Chick RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 08:29 AM

            Sorry for your sad experience. Can't say I've really ever enjoyed a meal there (tried three times), although I know many hounds tout the place. You should have at least had prompt service, with the mediocre food! [Terrible food....and such small portions! ;) ]

            1. MC Slim JB RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 08:44 AM

              I've always thought Taqueria Mexico was just okay, and its spaciousness and liquor license were never enough reason to give it a second thought when Taqueria El Amigo is just a mile or so away.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. Kris in Beijing RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 09:15 AM

                Please go back and try again.

                1) Service and kitchen were overwrought by the demands of the braying teens
                or
                2) Family and tastebuds were overwrought by the sensory overload from the braying teens

                1. The Chowhound Team RE: Swankalicious Jul 18, 2012 09:47 AM

                  Folks, if you have a different experience at Taqueria Mexico, please go ahead and share it, but please keep the focus on the restaurant, and not on what you think of how the original poster has chosen to express his/her opinions about the place.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: The Chowhound Team
                    e
                    eatntell RE: The Chowhound Team Jul 18, 2012 12:45 PM

                    I have been to Taqueria Mexico several times, and Amigo once. Their ambiances are very different, and both reminded me of similar places I had visited in Mexico. I don't have a honed palate for Mexican food to be able to tell if their dishes are authentic. They are, however, sub-par to those I had sampled in Mexico and in CA, by a long shot.

                    Taqueria Mexico is homey with seating inside and out. It is located on a quiet side street close to the center of Waltham with lots of stores and businesses. My visits are typically during daytime on weekends, and I always park at a meter a block or two away. The short walk is perfect to work up an appetite and to work off a little bulge afterwards. The few Mexican decors and plastic furnishing are unpretentious and clean. The food is good value and consistent. The wait staff is always courteous and aim to please. (I once ordered a plate with a side I did not like by mistake. When I mentioned it to the wait staff, he quickly comp'ed me with a different side.) IOW, this is what a small family run restaurant should be like.

                    By comparison, Taqueria El Amigo is in the middle of nowhere. If not for the glowing reviews here, I would have never noticed it. For my only visit, I parked in a fenced in lot next to it and wondered if my car would be towed. The place has half a dozen small tables inside, random decors on the walls, a counter with the visible kitchen behind. IOW, a hole in the wall, which did not bother me since I had enjoyed great food in similar holes in Mexico. But Taqueria El Amigo's service and food were horrific. Now that bothered me, and I won't return. Here's what I posted in another thread.

                    "I only visited once for a takeout recently, and was very disappointed. It was after lunch on a weekday, and the place was half empty. I went for the taco plate which many had recommended here.

                    When I got home 15 minutes later, grease had soaked through the brown paper bag. Other than the four tacos, there were no chips and no sides. The tacos' meat was bone dry, and the avocado slices were razor thin."

                    "My takeout from el Amigo was not in a styrofoam container, but in a plain brown paper bag. I asked for and paid for a taco plate, but there were only four tacos in the bag. Perhaps they just don't do takeouts well."

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854106

                    1. re: eatntell
                      j
                      Jenny Ondioline RE: eatntell Jul 18, 2012 01:15 PM

                      Well, and you can't get a decent lobster roll in Guadalajara, so there you go.

                      Much like Taqueria Mexico, there is ample on-street parking in front of Taqueria El Amigo. Which is across the street from a major shopping center with a Star Market, Rite Aid, Ocean State Job Lot, etc, and about a quarter-mile from beloved CH icon Russo's: hardly the middle of nowhere, and by no means a sketchy neighborhood.

                      Also, I almost always get one of the combos or the burrito-plus-taco plate, but unless I'm mistaken, sides are strictly a la carte at Taqueria El Amigo: in other words, you didn't get chips or sides because you didn't order them.

                      Personally, I think Mexico has better salsa, tacos, beans and horchata, while el Amigo has better chips, burritos, and quesadillas. I'd rather eat in at Mexico (because they usually are playing traditional Norteno in the soundsystem, which makes me homesick) and I'd rather get takeout and sit in that little hidden park on the river behind Russo's at el Amigo. There's room for both in my world.

                      1. re: eatntell
                        Science Chick RE: eatntell Jul 18, 2012 01:15 PM

                        The middle of nowhere? It's in Waltham, right near the Watertown line, a stone's throw down River Street from Russo's. Just because a spot is not on Moody or Main streets, doesn't mean it is in the Gobi desert! ;)

                        1. re: eatntell
                          l
                          LStaff RE: eatntell Jul 18, 2012 01:22 PM

                          You're judging el amigo by one order of takeout tacos (btw, the taco especiales plate only includes tacos, no sides - you get free chips and salsa if you eat in) that you waited 15 minutes to eat? Not the kind of food that is going to last even a short journey home.

                          FWIW, I like both places - if I am strictly looking for carnitas tacos and its not a Tuesday, then el amigo is my go to. If I feel like having a plate with sides, I prefer Taqueria Mexico.

                          I have experienced slow service issues at Taqueria Mexico - especially about 10 years ago, but in the last few years, those issues have been few and far between based on 50+ visits. Sounds like the OP just lost the luck of the draw this time....nothing really to be sounding the alarm about imo, as it can happen anywhere.

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