Not Always Rosy

 

Lest the reader believes I find every travel experience wonderful, magnificent, enjoyable (generally true), today I share a restaurant that did not live up to expectations. The last time we were in Tucson we had dinner at the original El Charro Cafe, located in downtown Tucson, and were pleased with the experience. El Charro claims the title of the oldest continuously family owned Mexican restaurant in the US. I was determined to return during this trip.

 

I’ll take responsibility for some of tonights negativity. We arrived a little after 5pm on a Saturday evening. We’d had a pretty intense day with plenty of sun, exercise and no lunch; plus we were probably slightly dehydrated. The sidewalk outside the restaurant was already crowded with would-be diners waiting for a table. After placing our name on the list we headed to the bar only to find it much too hectic for our comfort level, so claimed a sidewalk waiting location.

 

El Charro - Bob

When our name was called we were given a table just inside the door on the porch. A support pillar stood less than 16 inches away, a pillar that requires waiters, the rare bus person and new customers squeeze between it and our table. Service was sloooooow, probably 15 minutes to get a drink, napkins and silverware didn’t appear until we begged and 10 minus after the appetizer arrived. Of all evenings, when we needed a calm, relaxing dinner, we were in the middle of chaos, witness to unhappy staff and diners. And, the view out the window was the constant stream of arriving customers jockeying for position.

 

The guacamole was tasty but I bit into two separate stems, couldn’t help but wonder what else was “accidentally” included. Bob ordered El Charro’s signature dish, Carne Seca – lean Angus beef dried in the Sonoran desert sun, marinated, shredded and grilled with green chile, tomato and onions.    The serving was generous but Bob felt it was under spiced and over dried.

El Charro - Nancy

I ordered Enchiladas Banderas, a trio with three different fillings each with a different sauce. This sounded like a good sampler but turned out to be two many flavors all run together with little distinction. By the time we finished our entrees we had no patience to wait for dessert. Waiting for the bill was painful enough. Disappointment all around, a Tucson experience we will bypass in the future.

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