"The Mermaid," in case you were wondering. We went tonight with some friends who live nearby, and who are very fond of Mexican food. The place was fairly lively on a Friday evening--our party being the only gringos in the place. The jukebox was pumping out banda, and not long after we sat down, a man came in with a guitar case, turned off the jukebox and played, whistled and sang very energetically.
The food was a mixed bag, and the service was really bad. The waitress spoke English without an accent, so language problems couldn't explain the snafus. We ordered four huaraches as appetizers for the five of us: two bean, one beef, one chicken and received three: two beef, one chicken. The waitress provided three wrapped set-ups (one for each huarache, I guess) and disappeared never to return with more silverware and extra plates, as we requested. I finally got up and went to the counter to get some. We also waited twenty minutes for more salsa, after we asked for it. The huaraches were like a large oval sope- a thick tortilla with beans, lettuce, meat and sour cream. Uninspired is about the only thing I can say about Them. The meat was dry, the tortilla was tough and the lettuce was watery iceberg.
I ordered a chile relleno plate with, instead of two chiles, one chile and two tacos: one pork and one barbacoa, and rice and beans. I received a chile relleno on a plate with no rice or beans. The waitress drifted by a couple of times while we were eating and said: "Oh, yeah. You had two tacos, right?" But never brought them.
We were all sharing, so it wasn't that big a deal, but hey... The chile was very good, with a thick, chunky fresh tomato sauce, and I ate some of my friend's bland, creamy beans.
Jonathan had a big plate of grilled, shell-on spiced shrimp, which was excellent. Our friend's gallina en mole was tasty--not the most complex mole--a bit heavy on the cinnamon, from the Mexican chocolate--but the chicken was juicy, not dry and overcooked.
Whe we first sat down, one friend asked for water--we got beer. She was given a glass of ice and water with a slice of lime. Later in the meal, when the rest of us asked for water, we were served small plastic bottles of water which we were charged a dollar each for.
A bigger, more varied menu than El Tapatio, and a livelier embiance, but El Tapatio's food was quite a bit better at lunch last week, and there was no contest about the service.
I would go back to La Sirenita and order strictly by the numbers--no substitutions. And mariscos and chiles rellenos seems to be the way to go
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