13130 Kingston Avenue
Editor’s Note: To be fair, I had a hard time judging Jalapenos based on its own qualities and faults and not comparing it to El Nopal. You will see my comparisons throughout this review.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to have my little brother meet me for lunch. We decided to meet somewhere in between my office and his home, he chose Jalapenos near Rivers Bend off of Rt. 10. Jalapenos is an upscale Mexican restaurant, and no that is not an oxymoron. The place has much of the same cliché Mexican restaurant decor as other Mexican restaurants but somehow it does it rather tastefully and does not come off as garirish as most. It is also rather dark inside which may have made it look more tasteful.
Even though at noon the place was packed we were quickly seated and had chips and salsa in front of us. This showcased Jalapenos’ biggest flaw… NO WHITE SAUCE!!! I practically go to Mexican restaurants for their white sauce and chips, without it I feel that a Mexican restaurant is severely lacking a necessary dish. After a couple of minutes, I brought myself together enough to begin sampling their chips and salsa. The chips were fine, fresh and warm but nothing special. I was disappointed by the salsa, it was pureed and very mushy and too spicy for my taste.
As I drank my water to cool my burning tongue I looked over the menu. I guess that I have been spoiled by El Nopal and Plaza Aztec because the menu seemed rather small and plain and very expensive. There were only 5 seafood dishes on the menu and the one that sounded the most appealing, the Seafood Burrito was an astounding $17.95. There was a page of lunch specials but nothing stood out as too exciting; just the typical tacos, fajitas and combination plates which for $5 I thought was a good until I discovered that you had to pay an extra $3 for rice and beans. Rip off!
I settled for a chorizo quesadilla for just under $4.00 which was brought out to me in less than 10 minutes. For about $4 it was a decent sized quesadilla, a large tortilla folded in half stuffed with sausage and cheese. It was served with a side of sour cream which I thought was a nice addition. While the tortilla was nice and crispy and the cheese was perfectly melted inside I was disappointed by the taste and consistency of the chorizo. Much like the salsa, the sausage was extremely mush and had a consistency more like baby food than crumbled sausage. It didn’t taste bad; it just was not as good as the chorizo I get at El Nopal. It may have had a little too much spice in it, not hotness just flavor wise.
All in all, Jalapenos might be better to bring a date to than El Nopal because it is extremely clean and looks a good deal fancier but in terms of food it falls very short of the reigning Tri-City Mexican Restaurant juggernaut, El Nopal. It was a little pricey for my taste and lacked the variety of menu selections I have grown accustom to finding at Mexican restaurants and it DOES NOT SERVE WHITE SAUCE!!! Jalapenos is not bad by any means I just like El Nopal better.