Tuesday, January 17, 2006

You don't need Pancho's

Spike and I were debating on where to go for dinner (that eternal debate between partners: "Honey, what do you want to do for dinner?" "I don't know, what do YOU want?" "Hmmmm... I don't know" until someone screams or decides to plunk some pasta into a pot of boiling water), and it was between Pancho's, a chain-like restaurant that has just opened up in the Brunswick Wal-Mart Plaza (warning signs should have gone off, but a fearless chowhound is never daunted), or Ali Baba's. Spike voted for Pancho's, and I was game.

It started out innocently enough: the requisite colorful primitive Mexican-esque paintings on the wall, the stucco, the free chips and decent tomato salsa. The service was prompt, and the place was crowded, with a diverse bunch there (parents with kids, older folks, younger folks. Note to Brunswick developers: This would be a great place for a real restaurant!). However, it all started going downhill when the waiter professed not to know if they had herbal tea or not, and then came back with a definite no: all they had was decaf Lipton.

That would not have been so bad in and of itself if the food had any redeeming qualities, but except for the salsa and chips, the food was pretty awful. We would have been better off just microwaving some Amy's burritos at home. I ordered enchiladas: one with 'spinach cream,' which was really more like Campbell's cream of spinach soup in an enchilada wrapper, and one with 'cheese,' although it was distinctly like American cheese (which isn't cheese at all). The refried beans were REALLY re-fried (re-refried beans) and the rice was gummy.

Spike's meat chimichanga was okay, he said, but he agreed that next time, if we have a craving for Mexican, it's going to be José Malone's. And the price wasn't too different: together we paid $29 for two meals, drinks, and a cheese dip. The cheese dip was white, and they served it in a bowl (this seems to be a trend), but it had no real flavor.

Next....

By the way, speaking of José Malone's (which I seem to be doing a lot of lately), Maria Zemantauski, world-renowned flamenco guitarist, will be playing there starting 8 pm this Thursday, so make your reservations in advance! Visit www.mariazemantauski.com for more information on her playing. You will be amazed!

6 comments:

carolyn said...

greetings -- just discovered your blog. I live in the boonies, east of Troy (Melrose/Pittstown, near the Reservoir). We went to Jose Malone's last night. It was ok, but not nearly as good as Mexican Radio, down in Hudson.

Carolyn
www.yarnhead.com/curlypurl

Nosher said...

Hi carolyn! Nice to meet you. You are the first commenter here, and I'm pleased as punch to have someone else's point of view!

I was at Mexican Radio a couple of years ago, and I remember it being quite good. I think their menu is more extensive than Jose Malone's. I'll have to get down to Hudson and have a nosh one of these days.

bon appetit

rayloco said...

hi, thanks for the comments. i enjoy mexican radio myself. they do have a more extensive menu than we do over at Jose Malone's. they have been around a lot longer (they have a very well established restaurant down in NYC. When they opened up in Hudson, they were able to bring staff from their other restaurant.

Needless to say we are in the developement stage.
Even though, i co-owned another Mexican restaurant for about 20 years, we are doing something completely different here! Certainly Mexican Radio is one of our inspirations!
ray

locoloca said...

Hi all, just came acroos this blog. it seems to be about Troy NY. I was a resident of Brunswick for over 10 year, Mr Wall (Jose Malones)is my ex-husband and was NEVER an owner of El Loco Mexican Cafe. No need to go to Hudson for great southwestern/Mexican. We've been doing it here in Albany for 22+ years and still going strong. ps. El Loco is hosting a benefit for the Brunswick Smart Growth (BSG)organization on Wednesday March 8th 4;30 to 10 pm where we are donating 20% of food and beverage sales to the group helping to fight to keep Brunswick's rural character. If you haven't tried El Loco in a while... that would be a perfect opportunity.!!! Marcia

Kooli said...

Great blog. Even though I can think of two places where you and I have had opposite experiences (that is bad to both places, where is the consistency). About time someone did something like this. Good job.

Jose Malones said...

Hi, Jose Malone's has been doing major menu development the last year or so. We have taken our Specials Menu and brought it to whole new levels!

Jose Malone's has just been named "Best Tapas in the Capital Region" by Metroland Magazine!