Thursday, September 27, 2007

REVIEW: Don Jose Tequila's- * / $$

I arrived at Don Jose Tequilas with great expectations. I had read good reviews, and been told the same by friends, and after living for so long with nothing but bad Tex-Mex at local restaurants, I relished the chance to eat real food.

It was a sad day.

The dining area was well decorated. The ambiance was cozy, warm, and not too tight. Service was quick and friendly. The margaritas ordered by the table were good, but not great. I would have called them a little weak, although everyone else seemed happy.

For our appetizers we got the Macho Nachos and Don Jose's platter. The nachos were bland, uninventive, and bland. Did I mention bland? Who the hell makes nachos without any kind of spice. They're nachos! This isn't a gas station nacho dispenser. Give me some cayenne pepper. The refried beans were luke warm and dry, the salsa was as hot as an episode of Full House, and the cheese was, for the most part, missing in action. The Platter wasn't much better. The quesadillas weren't fully cooked, the chicken was tough and over-cooked, and whatever they spiced it with tasted burnt.

For dinner, we got steak fajitas, chimichangas, and a stuffed burrito. Across the board, the meat was tough, over-cooked, and flavorless. My tortillas for my fajita were cold. The chimichanga seemed to not have been fried at all. The tortilla had no crispness, and again the spices were bland and muted. The burrito was a similar story. None of them were finished.

I was sad because there was a lot to like. It seemed like their heart was in the right place, but in the real world, you don't get an A for effort. And even then, I'm not sure what kind of effort was actually expressed. The problems were all the mistakes of either someone who doesn't care or has no skills whatsoever in the kitchen. Overcooked meat, terrible seasonings, poorly timed preparations causing some hot and some cold foods. These are transgressions of the highest caliber because a restaurateur should be long past these errors before ever opening a place.

Don Jose's may have earned two stars earlier, but after my discovery of El Tapatio, which is so vastly superior as to be almost comical, the poor haunt on Federal Hill gets tagged with the only one-star review I've written. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

Don Jose Tequila's: *
Price range for two: $25-$50

Don Jose Tequila's
351 Atwells Avenue
Providence, RI. 02903

Sunday through Thursday 3:00pm to 10:00pm
Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 11:00pm

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