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.
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!