Food Porn: El Palenque Mexican Grill

I was sitting in Starbucks working on my thesis (aka staring at my computer screen and checking out facebook) when lunch time hit.  Since I was on Niagara Falls Boulevard, I figured I would go to one of my old standbys, Moes Southwest Grill, for a burrito and some chips and salsa.  Shot a call to my roommate who seemed interested in some Mexican/Southwest cuisine but instead recommended that I gave El Palenque a try.  I have heard a mixed-bag of reviews on the place, so I was skeptical to give it a try, yet he insisted and said they had an extremely cheap, yet filling lunch menu.  When I got to the restaurant (on the corner of NF Blvd and Sheridan) the place looked promising.  In my experience, Mexican places with old disgusting buildings and broken down old signs have by far the best food.  Walking in it was what I fully expected, a very stereotypical decorated Mexican place with bright red and green colors everywhere.

While we were taking a look at the menu, the server brought out some complementary chips and salsa.

Complimentary Chips and Salsa

The chips and salsa were definitely homemade and both were tasty.  The salsa was a little smooth for my taste but my roommate found it perfect, seeing he generally complains salsa and sauces are way too chunky.  We both thought the salsa was a bit mild but nothing a few dashes of the hot sauce on the table couldn’t cure.  (Hot sauce side note: Every table had two, both Habanero sauces, both very hot and tasty, yet one was green and one was red.  If anyone can ever tell a difference between the two, let me know because I couldn’t taste the difference for the life of me).

We both eventually decided on one of the lunch specials, considering there’s 21 to choose from, it wasn’t too difficult of a task.   The lunch specials are all very reasonably priced (between 4 and 7 dollars) and all looked to be of extremely sufficient size.  I went with lunch special #1 which was a chile relleno, a taco, beans, and a guacamole salad.  My roommate went with special #18 which was a burrito with a side of rice.

Lunch Special #1

The special #1 turned out to be a ton of food for a lunch meal.  I am a big fan of chile relleno so I dug into that first.  The filling was tasty and the sauce that topped it was good, however the outside coating was a bit soggy.  All in all a pretty solid relleno.  The guacamole salad was basically just a scoop of prepared guac put on top of a bit of shredded lettuce.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it a salad but the guac went well as a topping for the taco.  The taco itself looked pretty standard until I took a bite.  The meat inside was seasoned perfectly and tasted much different from any other taco I have had from around here.  The meat was moist and had a bit of spice on the back of the tongue.  The biggest surprise of the lunch for me was the refried beans.  Refried beans can at times be terrible if they are not made properly.  However, this simple dish can be excellent when made well.  This version was very smooth, well spiced, and extremely tasty.  I would highly recommend giving their beans a try if you are a fan at all.

My roommate also seemed to enjoy his lunch.  The burrito was not overwhelmingly large, yet proved to be a filling and tasty lunch.  In a brief description, he offered the valuable insight of “Yeah, it tastes good.”  I will back up his palate and say that if he enjoyed, it probably was a pretty tasty dish.

It turned out to be a solid recommendation for lunch.  By no means is this place “authentic” Mexican food, however, as with most Americanized Mexican dishes, meat/cheese/sauce combos usually usually taste pretty good.  The dinner menu was a bit more expensive yet still very affordable.  If you are in the boulevard area, I would recommend stopping in to El Palenque for a quick, inexpensive, and tasty meal.

El Palenque Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

3 thoughts on “Food Porn: El Palenque Mexican Grill

  1. j

    pallet = wooden platform shipments are stacked upon
    palate = what you taste with

    I’ve seen this typo all over this blog.

    • Don Burtless

      thanks J, fixed the misspellings that were “all over this blog” and by “all over this blog” I mean twice (including this post). But rest assured I will never forget how to properly spell palate.

      • Adam Pfleegor

        well i mean the full time editor and writer that have no other jobs, responsibilities or commitments must have missed it. maybe you should get hit the head with a palate eh? then it wouldnt bother you as much. thanks for reading though:)

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