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Miguel's Cocina y Cantina: no es bueno


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Miguel's Cocina y Cantina: no es bueno

drunk_again | Mar 22, 2010 10:30 AM

My wife and I took my parents to Miguel's Sunday for dinner in Silo Point. This was our first time there, we live in Hampden so it's not exactly right down the street, but after last nights experience, we don't think we'll be returning regardless.

The Bland Experience:
We were looking forward to a feast of authentic Mexican food and to wash it down with some fresh margaritas. When we arrived around 6pm, the space is nice but definitely has that industrial feel. We waited in the foyer patiently for a couple of minutes to be seated, which set the tone for the evening. There was no hostess, and when the bartender was free, he came over and seated us. There was a couple of tables already seated, but it wasn't busy.

We were given a drink menu and a dinner menu, both were filled with a tremendous array of options, and yes, we had a few questions to ask to assist us in ordering, but those questions remained unasked. There seemed to be only one server taking care of the dining room, and he was inadequate for the job. He was a nice enough kid, just too weeded to perform his job to the best of his abilities. The owner, who was in the kitchen, should've had another server on the floor with him, or at least a manager who could help out.

We started off with a round of margaritas. After a long, long wait, they finally came. I got the Tamarind Margarita, which was good, nice balance of sweet and sour, but nothing really extraordinary, and one will do, I couldn't drink anymore of these. We started off with their freshly made guacamole and a queso fundido (cheese fondue). We also ordered two different empanadas to start with as well: the carne asado (grilled skirt steak) and the picodillo (diced beef & pork).

It took a long, long time for anything to come out, but when it did, it all came out at once. All 4 of the items came to the table, as well as chips & dip, and we had to do our best to maneuver the plates to fit on the table. These are the type of plates that are the size of the table but only have a few things on them. Hard to eat when there is no room. Anyway, the guacomole was underwhelming for $12. The cheese fondue was just melted cheese, literally melted cheese.

The empanadas tasted like they were 2 days old, who knows, maybe they were made Friday and given to us on Sunday. Two Oily, hard shells swimming in a mole sauce that had a julienne salad of jicama and carrots and pumpkin seeds layered on top. The salad component was great. I couldn't decipher which empanada was which, they both tasted vaguely similar: Lacking seasoning, lacking taste.

We had to ask the server to remove the empty plates or they probably would've stayed on the table for the duration. I asked for a draft of Dos Equis, it only came after my wife reminded the server twenty minutes later. The service was definitely lacking.

Now, I ordered the Carnitas Juvencio (12-hr slow roasted pork chunks that was marinated in coca-cola with refried beans and tortilla shells) and I was very disappointed. The hard cubes of pork were not very tender, overcooked (which is weird because it's supposed to be slow cooked), and very, very bland. In fact, all of the food coming out of the kitchen needed seasoning. I barely touched my entree after a couple of bites and asked for a to-go container.

My wife and my mother both got tacos, 3 flour tortilla tacos per order, drizzled with salsa verde and mole sauce that was very watery. More bland, season-less meat that the sauce tried to mask ineffectively. The pollo tasted like rubbery Sisco chicken with no seasoning.

Dinner came to about $120 and for 4 people, that's not bad $30 a person I guess is about average, but we could've went to Fells and found something around Broadway for a lot cheaper and a lot more authentic and satisfying. I've never been impressed with the owner's, Michael Marx, establishments. Blue Agave and Rub were always over-hyped and more flash than substance. He is always harping about the real authentic cuisine he's bringing to Baltimore, when he should be focusing on the basics: food with flavor, adequate service, etc.

Why is it so hard to find a good Mexican restaurant in Baltimore?

Anyway, we finished the night back in Fells, where we got amazing gelato at Pitango. Good stuff and the highlight of the evening.

Blue Agave Restaurant
1032 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Hampden Cafe
4800 Hampden Ln Ste 103, Bethesda, MD 20814

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