I never cease to be amazed. Perhaps that is why I am writing on Chowhound and not somewhere else. I like the Chowhound philosophy; meaning we sought out another Mexican restaurant and our efforts were rewarded!
When you jump on the Merritt it is fast and easy to get to Wallingford from many places. We were going to see Jon Stewart at the Chevrolet Theatre so I scouted fo a place in Wallingford, a town I am totally unfamiliar with. I came up with some recommendations but one that stuck out was one I had saved to my map, from a CH'ers recommendation.
This is a smallish place but it will seat at least eighty. There is a nice bar area with some booths, a diningroom and a patio area that seats about twenty. The bathroom was very clean and neat. Not a dive or run-down place, in any way. It's on 5, a main drag.
We were the only ones that chose to sit outside. A nice breeze blew thru and it was quite enjoyable with the shade from the tres and umbrellas. We could hear the live entertainment from outside and the two men finally came outside about the time we were going to leave. They are mariachi style but both play guitars and sing. One had a small guitar and he played higher notes, but sang lower. Very fun to listen to them as they were talented!
Oh, the food! I totally overdid it and ordered so much that we were barely able to finish the leftovers today, for lunch. The female waitress (Hispanic, but perfect English) was excellent and did not laugh at me (but I think she rolled her eyes) when I ordered so much. I ordered guacomole nachos; a first for us. Made from fresh avocados, I think they use a lot of lime and cilantro and puree it till it is pourable. There were still a few chunks of avocado to be found. I ordered hot tamales and ended up with one of each: a mild one and a red, spicy one. Pork, obviously; they were really excellent. I forgot the chips and salsas! These were good with the tamales (besides the sour cream). The have a verde, which has some chile and cilantro, in with the tomatillo. I think it was one of the best chile verdes I have had. At least in the top five. The red chile sauce is not a "salsa" in the true (?) sense of the word. No tomato and it was very smooth and not as hot as the verde. The chips were fairly conventional, but I think they were freshly made in the restaurant; they were that good
SO ordered the chicken taco salad. I could not talk her into anything different. It was very cheezy, had black olives, was too mushy and slushy, from the dressing, but had good flavor (except for the black olives) and the shell was fresh and crisp. What's up with black olives? That's not a Mexican thing, is it? Does Mexico grow olives? I 've never heard of mexican olives... Anyway, we are turned off by canned black olives since we never liked the flavor of them much in the first place, and then, we find out they are chemically treated to make them black.
I had a spicy pork tortas, which had some nice cooked jalapenos for heat. There was cheese in the tortas, too, and it came with very good thick fries. Then I had chicken en mole. This was a memorable dish. The white meat was very tender and the mole was thick and rich. One of the best moles I have ever had. The three corn tortillas (where I could have had flour) were excellent and seemed freshly made. The rice was slightly dry but the beans were flavorful, but it seemd odd for them to be covered in melted white cheese. It was not a soft or crumbly mexican cheese. It might have been a Monterrey Jack (that I'm not used to).
They have wine on the menu, though it is low-end Glen Ellen, in individual, screw-cap bottles. At least they had wine for SO; otherwise she wouldn't have been as happy. She doesn't whine too much if there is good beer available. She would have settled for my Negra Modellos.
We really enjoyed the meal, though it was not as authentic as El Sarape, in Hartford or Guadalupe La Poblanita, in Fair Haven. This is pretty authentic Mexican food with some dishes moreso than others. I'd say it leans towards Tex-Mex with a fair amount of cheese on the beans, my tortas and chicken taco salad. I can still recommend tortas, "hot" (red) tamales, guacomole nachos and the chicken mole. I want to return and explore the menu more. Our excellent waitress said they have specials like chile rellenos and posole.
I think the two-man mariachi singers play Friday and Saturday nights. Muy bueno!
(203) 265-1838. Hours: Mon., Wed.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., closed Tues. Bar open later. $. Visa/MC.