El Pueblo is a let-down

If you are the kind of person who relishes waiting a very long time for something because you think it makes for a better experience when you actually get it, then you’ll love El Pueblo. As we sat in our seats for thirty minutes, hungrily eyeing steaming plates of quesadillas, papusas and tamales, we realized we do not fit in to that group.

From the time we entered the restaurant at 7 p.m. to the time we got the check, we had spent two-and-a-half hours in the restaurant. Don’t get us wrong, the food was all right, but we could have eaten and gone to see a movie in the same amount of time.

Our evening began navigating through the Burke area to find El Pueblo, a small and dive-y Mexican restaurant located in a shopping center. The outside is less than impressive, but we were pleasantly surprised at the authentically decorated interior. The walls were covered with pictures and artifacts from Mexico that added to the overall eating experience.

We were able to get a seat right away, and our server promptly brought out complimentary chips and salsa. We devoured the chips, but in hindsight should have made them last a little while longer because our appetizer course didn’t arrive for another 20 minutes. It did not leave a very good first impression.

For our start, we tried a cheese-filled papusa and corn tamalito. The papusa was reminiscent of a flavorless quesadilla, but the corn tamalito redeemed it completely. With the texture and flavor of freshly baked corn bread, this dish tasted more like dessert than an appetizer

After another lengthy wait, our server returned and took our orders. We settled with a chicken fajita salad and steak chimichangas after careful deliberation. Our voracious appetites had not been fully satisfied with the previous two courses and, once again, we forced to wait for an unbearably long time. Finally, our main dishes arrived and we dug in eagerly.

The fajita salad far surpassed the chimichanga, which tasted like it had been unwrapped from a freezer package, nuked in the microwave for a few minutes and then dumped on the plate that was then brought to our table. Luckily, the salad was large enough for the two of us to split. There were loads of marinated chicken slices, fresh guacamole and other delicious toppings to make for a truly flavorful meal.

Our marathon meal came to an end when our desserts arrived alongside of our check a little while later. If your cholesterol levels can handle it, we recommend you try the Xango. It is banana cheesecake, deep fried in a golden batter and covered with vanilla ice cream. Not exactly the healthiest option, but definitely the tastiest.

So, if you’ve got multiple hours to kill on a weekend night, try El Pueblo. But, if you’re like most high school students with busy social calendars, we recommend you skip this stop in favor of something more in tune with your schedule.