If you go out to eat, there is one option you can always choose that will be safe: Mexican. If everyone in your party likes this type of food, then In terms of quality and menu choices you can’t really go wrong with going to the local Mexican restaurant.
Keep in mind what I am talking about. I am lumping together what the industry calls “Mexican family restaurants.” These are the dime a dozen sit-down Mexican places you find sprinkled in every city. I am not talking about Taco Bell, mission burrito joints, or Qdoba…I am highlighting the Fiesta en Jaliscos, El Sombreros, Aztecas, etc. of the world. If this is a place where you sit down, get chips and salsa, and order off a menu that has a heading of “combinations” followed by a bunch of numbers you know what I am talking about. And yes, I think they are all the same.
Now I know some of you might be cursing at your smart device or computer right now saying that I am crazy. Very well, you might have more sensitive taste buds than me. But personally, I find very little difference in the Mexican restaurant located on the side of the street that I am standing on and the Mexican restaurant located on the side of the street across from me.
I think I am semi-qualified to speak to this just because I have stayed consistent in what I have ordered at a Mexican restaurant for the last twenty years or so. I most always get the same thing…two enchiladas…one ground beef and one chicken. Sometimes I might switch it up a bit and get a burrito but in all honesty burritos taste the exact same as enchiladas. Anyway, my two enchiladas surrounded by refried beans and rice have tasted roughly the exact same at the hundreds of Mexican places I have dined at in my lifetime. I try to find distinguishing factors but many times it is impossible.
Not that this is a bad thing at all. Like I said above, it makes eating at a Mexican restaurant a solid choice. Burgers, fish, Asian food, and steak taste different at every place you go. People have different preferences on how they want these particular items to taste so it is always a risk selecting a restaurant. No such dilemma at a Mexican restaurant. You go anywhere and you know you can bank on getting the standard tacos/burritos/enchiladas with rice and beans, a cold Corona, and chips & salsa.
Now that I mentioned it though, I guess I should point out the separating factor that might put one Mexican restaurant ahead of the other: Chips and salsa. I admit that while any combination platter you get will pretty much taste universally the same, a business can shine a little brighter with its chips and salsa. If the restaurant serves warm and unlimited chips that is a good start. If they go the extra mile and make their chips homemade and provide a couple different types of salsas (one better be spicy), that makes it all the better. If I can slightly taste the grease and butter on the chip than that restaurant will definitely have the edge.
Atmosphere also plays a factor as well. For the same price I have ate the same tasting/looking Mexican platter in spacious, well-lit establishments as well as dirty, sketchy dives. When it comes down to it, I will always take my girlfriend to the place with a functioning sign and clean bathrooms.
Stressing out over where to take your relatives or visiting friends to dinner? Simply choose one of the many local Mexican restaurants in your area located in a decent part of town…and make sure the chips and salsa are delicious and plentiful! Don’t Blink.