Optimistically Cautious

Friday, May 18, 2007

Second is the First Loser: Acajutla

Looking to unwind at the end of a work week, I asked May, my Mexican cuisine connoisseur friend, to choose a restaurant. She had heard good things about Acajutla, 11302-107 Avenue (which coincidently, won second place in Vue Weekly's Golden Fork for Mexican/Latin American), so there we went.

As indicated on the menu, acajutla translates to "a place of sea turtles and sugar canes." The decor in the dining room was festive to say the least, with brightly colored paper decorations and lanterns hanging from the rafters, and boldly checkered table cloths covering each table. The waitresses were all wearing the same puff-sleeved blouses of the Mexican Heritage-Day variety, providing more of a (stereotypical) ethnic atmosphere to the restaurant.

The menu was more extensive than El Rancho, complete with pictures illustrating select dishes. May decided to order the Combination Plate (one each of tostada, pastel, taco, & fajita), while I stuck with my tried-and-true Chicken Fajitas (soft corn tortilla stuffed with chicken breast, mixed with tomato, onion, and bell pepper).

The restaurant was busier than I had expected, with nearly all of the tables occupied (and a large party of rather loud women situated just behind us), but it was still no excuse for the lengthy wait for our food - we were starved by the time our plates arrived. I was even more disappointed when I found the chicken in my fajita to be dry and over spiced to my taste. May's meal was better, as she was able to sample a few of their specialties (I tried a bit of the pastel, which was very tasty). The service as a whole was sub-par, as we had to physically bring our cups up to the counter for water refills and had to ask the waitress for our bill at the end.

I'm hoping Vue was wrong in their announcement that El Rancho is closing their doors; Acajutla would be a poor replacement.


Combination Plate (clockwise from left - fajita, taco, tostada, and pastel)

Chicken Fajitas

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