Monday, October 10, 2011

Meet the New Mexican Restaurant, Same As the Old Mexican Restaurant: Casa Grande Review

If you've read this blog before you've probably noticed what kinds of foods I like and what kinds I tend to shy away from just based on what I've written about.  In the case of Mexican cuisine it is true that I haven't done very many (or any-I'm too lazy to check) reviews of Mexican restaurants.  However, it's definitely not because I don't like Mexican food.  It may not always be my go-to ethnic cuisine, but there are a lot of times when I just crave it.  The problem I find though is that every new Mexican restaurant I go to seems the same to me.  Yes, the decor may be different.  There may be a different special on the menu here or there. But outside of  those factors I'm usually unable to discern much difference in the food's appearance, taste, or menu offerings.  When Casa Grande opened up in Castleton on the site of an old Max and Erma's I was hoping that this time "new" eatery would actually bring something "new" to the table literally and metaphorically.

Upon walking in to the restaurant I have to say I was encouraged.  The decor, while not fancy, definitely seemed like a step up from the likes of a lot of Mexican restaurants I've been in.  It was more like the inside of a just remodeled Ruby Tuesday's than an El Rodeo or Puerta (for you Muncieites).  The service was prompt, and our server was friendly even giving my friend beer suggestions.  Once we settled in I looked at the menu and was instantly disappointed.  You could have swapped out the menu from any other Mexican restaurant in the city and you wouldn't have noticed a difference.  That being what it was I decided to go with some standby favorites of mine chicken nachos and an ala carte tamale.

Before our food arrived we were of course given a basket of fresh tortilla chips with acommpanying salsa.  I expect this, but I was also a little surprised to see that along with the salsa we were served a sauce that was a ranch dressing base that was dressed up with a spice blend by the kitchen.  It was a little spicy, and I enjoyed it on my chips.  Our food soon arrived and it was time to dig in to the main event.  There really isn't a lot I can say about my chicken nachos.  The flavors were good.  The queso was perfectly melty and delicious.  The chips were chips.  However, I was disappointed at how dry a lot of my chicken was.  It still had flavor, but it definitely lacked a little juiciness.  The tamale was much larger than I expected.  I split it with The Girlfriend and I still was not able to take down my full plate of nachos.  Unfortunately the tamale was also disappointing.  The masa was dry and there was a lot of it.  When I say "a lot" I mean there was so much it was difficult to find the meat filling.  It was also quite dry and didn't have a ton of flavor.  Without all of the sauce and cheese on top it would have been rather hard to eat. 

All in all I guess I have to say my search for a standout Mexican restaurant continues.  I will of course always take suggestions, but I have to say I'm more than a little jaded now.  I've gone to too many places expecting something that will wow me only to come away feeling about the same as always. 

Taste 5/10 Extremely average here.  I didn't hate it, but I would probably only go back if someone else wanted to go or meet there.  Some execution issues with the food.

Value 7/10  As with most Mexican restaurants you are going to get a lot of food for your money here.  Our meal was around 20 bucks I think, and I had enough for 2 meals. 

Casa Grande Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

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