Lunch date #25, October 5, 2012
The second of the two restaurants we visited before Mom's cruise was El Jarrito at the historic Cheese Factory (828 Main Street). In our continued quest to find local, good Mexican food-and to sample every restaurant downtown, this one seemed reasonable to try. My friends say—"Why are you eating at such and such…" and I have to remind them that this is a project—to try every restaurant in Pleasanton! Sometimes, I have to remind Mom of that as well!
Location 5 points. Downtown on the North end. Parking is a bit of a hassle there, but the historic building is cool. This really used to be a cheese processing building and it was connected to the Pleasanton Hotel by one of the famous Pleasanton tunnels.
Ambiance 3 points: We sat outside and enjoyed the linen covered table, but that is pretty much the end of the ambiance. Very plain décor in and out. Not much to describe; fairly tacqueria type place. Still, it seemed clean.
Menu 3 points: There were some lunch specials and a general lunch menu also. Most of the usual things you'd expect in a Mexican-food place. Mom felt the selection was a bit limited. We both went with the lunch special, although I was surprised Mom ordered the tacos-she is usually more of an enchilada or tostada type. The server said the fish tacos were good, and as that is something I typically enjoy-I went with it. Mom order the beef tacos.
Food 1.5 points: Mom said this was the worse restaurant she had ever tried and the worse lunch she ever had! Wow, pretty dramatic I thought. But she couldn't eat the beef tacos at all. The meat was so tough, she couldn't chew it. We actually returned them…a definite first for us. The corn tortillas were soggy, and as tacos go—didn't have much on them except the meat (for me grilled fish) and served with a side of chopped cilantro and onion. The fish tacos were fair—but nothing special, and with the crumbling tortillas, hard to eat. Mom's beef tacos were replaced by shredded chicken tacos. She still didn't like them, even with the side of shredded lettuce in place of the cilantro—but she did pack them up to take home with the goal to fix them up the way she liked a taco and eat them at home!
Service 3 points: Our server was great. When I told her Mom couldn't eat the beef tacos, she immediately whisked them away and the replacement came pretty quickly She was quick to refill my tea, but never did get Mom more coffee. She tried, but came up a little short.
Value 2 points: When you really don't care for the food, it is hard to give the place any value at all. The prices were reasonable, but since the food so marginal, the value was low. We would not go back.
Overall score for El Jarrito: 2.9 points. Low points for the food and value offset by the good service and downtown location. Mom was not happy: "If this was my first Mexican dish, I never would have liked Mexican food!" I could see her point…but I do think she should have ordered the enchiladas—oh well, she is trying new things, have to give her credit!