The experience

So Benji decided to finally take a nap at around 5PM today.  And then he decided he would sleep till the next day.  So around 8PM, we decided that I would take Mina out to eat with Dusty and bring her something back.  I decided for quick Mexican and recalled a place that I had seen for some time in the old Taco Bueno in West Plano, El Norte Grill.  Mina had already gotten into her pajamas, so I loaded her up and we got moving as the restaurant would close at 9PM.  Grace said she’d call with her order after reviewing the menu on the website.

El Norte Grill

We arrived at the old Taco Bueno that I used to eat at over a decade ago and headed inside.  They had done a good job with the interior.  The decor was quite festive with Mexican decorations everywhere and even a fake wood ceiling.  The only thing left over from the Bueno days were the floor tiles.

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We were seated right away as, since it was nearly closing time, there was only one table of patrons and they were on their way out.  Our waiter arrived and seemed somewhat flustered that we were arriving so late.  I think it was that he was busy closing the store down as their appeared to only be two of them managing the front of the restaurant.  I quickly ordered us some queso and we placed our drink orders.

He came back with the queso and drinks and we quickly placed our order.  In his absence I had called Grace and taken her order.  I asked the wwaiter to have the delay cooking it as long as possible as I knew the kitchen would be closing soon.  Mina was busy digging into the queso and I heard, “I never want to stop eating this!”  It must be good queso.  Dusty chimed in that it was the best he’d ever tasted.

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Our food arrived very quickly.  I could tell they were eager to close things down.  Grace’s arrived only a few minutes behind which meant it would probably be cold by the time I got it home.  We all dug in and we were all pleasantly surprised by how good the food was.  It was a good thing since even Mina ate quickly this evening.  She ate her entire taco, which was quite large, without any prodding!

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No more taco!

Dusty was so enamored by the food and the margaritas he had to ask the waitstaff about the food, etc.  He even felt the need to reveal our secret blogging identity.  I asked for the tab and settled up so we could bring home the food to Grace before it got too late.

The food

Queso BlanoThe food was surprisingly good.  It turns out their queso, which we started with, was in Southern Living.  We opted for the version without the spicy taco meat for Mina’s sake.  Wow!  Excellent queso.  It ranks up there with some of the best I’ve had.  I still think Chuy’s Queso Compuesto is a bit better but Mina and Dusty said it was the best they ever had. If you go, you must order it.

Dusty had the “Cabo” Fish Tacos.  Dusty was also very impressed with these and had to ask what they put in them.  He let me sample them and they were excellent.  The fish was tender and plentiful.  It came with some sort of chile sauce or seasoning that gave it and outstanding twist from your typical fish taco.  Dusty opted to get them with flour instead of corn tortillas.  The tortillas were lightly grilled.  Another outstanding dish.

Soft Beef Taco Kids PlateMina got the Soft Beef Taco plate and she liked it quite a bit. In fact, she liked it enough to eat the entire taco.  I did have to remove a good bit of the lettuce and tomato but it was a fair trade off to have her eat her entire meal.  And it was a good sized taco.  I sampled a bite and the taco meat was very well seasoned.  It was supposed to be the “spicy” beef that would be in the queso but it really wasn’t spicy at all, just very well seasoned.

Verde and Mole Enchilada PlateI ordered the enchilada plate with one Verde Chicken Enchilada and one Mole Chicken Enchilada.  Both were excellent.  The corn tortillas were perfectly grilled and both sauces were great.  The mole had a nice balanced flavor with the right amount of bitterness from the chocolate and a ton of chile flavor. The verde sauce was outstanding as well.  It was slightly tangy and went well with the juicy chicken.  I ordered one of these for Grace to go and, once reheated in the toaster oven, she thought they were very good as well.

The service

We arrived near closing and at first it seemed the waiter was irritated about that.  I’ve decided he was actually just busy closing the store as the service improved quite a bit after the initial impression.  Still just average service, however.

The kids

I’d say this place was average to a bit above average for kid friendly restaurants.  Its laid back with a festive atmosphere and they do have coloring for this kids.  The kids menu is a decent selection of Tex-Mex.  You shouldn’t have problem with the kids here.

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