Cilantro Bar and Grille

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
Detritus
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Detritus » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:26 am

Went there last night with my folks, and I have to say, with the exception of the desserts (tres leches cake and the nevada--basically a volcano cake with ice cream on top) the food was mediocre, the portions small, the service slow, and the prices ridiculous. I'm sorry, but $2 for chips and salsa?

We arrived at 6:30 with the place about half full, along with three other carloads of people, all of us circling the parking lot at least once trying to verify that the storefront with the Corona sign in it was, in fact, the restaurant. They have a small sign in the window, at foot level. We had reservations, but at that time they didn't seem necessary. We started with the bocadillas, which were OK at best, with a chicken flauta that had good flavor (but was definitely on the piccolo side), a tiny chalupa that appeared to have black beans in it, and a nice little empanada with queso fresco in it. And about a tablespoon of guacamole. My father & I then had carne asada, medium rare and medium, respectively, but couldn't find any difference between them. They were both dry and largely flavorless, and so small that I was finished in under ten minutes. My mother had the pork manchamanteles ("table-cloth stainer"), which was the right, rich, red color, but had almost no heat. My father & I finished with cinnamon-infused coffee, lukewarm. The evening was somewhat enlivened by the live music, a five-piece norteño band that was trying very hard to remember all the lyrics to "La Bamba," accompanied at times by the owner dancing, but the sound of her stamping on the hardwood-on-cement floor was deafening, and the musicians kept dropping instruments (which included a harp taller than the player and of course a giant guitarrón) as they tried to wander between the tables. I have to say, their ranchera version of "Roll Out the Barrel" was pretty fun, though.

I might go back in a year's time, if I hear that things have improved. My advice for them in the meanwhile: free chips and salsa, especially with slow service (20 minutes to get my coffee? Really?) ; get a coffee/water stand for the wait staff somewhere outside the kitchen; move the kitchen entrance somewhere other than the hallway where customers have to wait to get a table; and for pete's sake, don't try to perform the wandering minstrel bit (not to mention a dance that should take place outdoors) inside a small, already very noisy space. And please memorize the words to "La Bamba." There aren't that many of them.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Athena » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:51 pm

I went to Cilantro on Saturday for lunch/brunch with my in-laws. I was happy to see that they had both the lunch and brunch menus available. We all thought the $2 for the chips was well worth it, the chips were obviously very freshly made and both salsas were very good. The waitress explained that they charged because the make the chips themselves. Service was extremely fast, we only had a few minutes between placing our order and getting our food. The restaurant was quiet with only a few other tables when we were there though. My in-laws all had enchiladas and all thought they were excellent (both veg and chicken). I had the flautas with the bean soup. The flautas were very nicely seasoned but the bean soup could have used something more. My husband had the tacos and thought they were very good. He didn't care for the guacamole but I thought it was fine. We were all quite full and didn't do more than glance at the desert menu. We'll have to go back since it sounds like we missed out. All of the in-laws agreed that we had made a great choice and I expect that they will ask to go back the next time they visit. It sounds like lunch is better than their dinner service right now.

LargeMarge
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby LargeMarge » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:52 am

Athena wrote: It sounds like lunch is better than their dinner service right now.


That was my experience. However, the dinner menu is much more appealing. I am really hoping that they can work out the service issues. I am also hoping that they realize that the space does not work for live music. The food has so much promise.

Athena
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Athena » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:32 pm

LargeMarge wrote:That was my experience. However, the dinner menu is much more appealing. I am really hoping that they can work out the service issues. I am also hoping that they realize that the space does not work for live music. The food has so much promise.


I was disappointed that they didn't have anything with the mole sauce for lunch. I'd like to go back for dinner sometime but I don't think the live music would be a good idea. Liliana's is one of the very few restaurants that has made live music work because they have a separate area for the musicians so it isn't distracting in the dining room.

morriskatze
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby morriskatze » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:23 am

Athena wrote: We all thought the $2 for the chips was well worth it, the chips were obviously very freshly made and both salsas were very good. The waitress explained that they charged because the make the chips themselves.


I know this is my native Texan bias, but that is such BS to say they charge b/c they make the chips themselves. Plenty of restaurants in Texas make the chips themselves and they would never DREAM of charging for them (unless all you order is a margarita or something).

Chips and salsa are the equivalent of bread and butter/olive oil - who charges for that?

My only experience so far with Cilantro is when my husband and I tried to go there recently on a Friday for dinner. The hostess station was so confused that we weren't even able to put our names in. Some guy told us there was a wait but he didn't know for how long, and then he walked off without even telling the hostess (who had walked off for a minute) that we were next. Some other people then got in front of us, so we left. If it's too much trouble to even get seated, I can't be bothered.

I would really like to try the place b/c the menu looks very good and vegetarian friendly, but my first impression of not being seated is not very good, and the idea that I'll have to pay for chips and salsa just makes me afraid that this will be another over-hyped mediocrity like Tex Tubb's.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby thebookpolice » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:39 am

[ASIDE] There's hype for Tex Tubb's?

morriskatze
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby morriskatze » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:58 am

TheBookPolice wrote:[ASIDE] There's hype for Tex Tubb's?


Good point - I guess it's died down these days, but when they first opened... :roll:

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Kovalic » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:02 am

TheBookPolice wrote:[ASIDE] There's hype for Tex Tubb's?


WOW. *Actual* LOL. Snerk...

Tsur
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Tsur » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:04 pm

Last weekend, my wife and I went back to Cilantro. Our last trip resulted in some unexpected chicken in our Enchilada's Vegetarianas.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=49573#p617125

This time, there were no such problems. In fact, everything was simply wonderful. When we arrived we asked to be seated in Halle's (Haley?) section. She was so pleasant and apologetic from our last trip, that we knew we had to give her another chance. She instantly recognized us. She took our drink orders and recited one of the specials, "I'll skip the other one because it has chicken." We laughed.

Every complaint I had about our earlier visit was rectified. We ordered a couple of margaritas and they were strong – VERY strong. Well worth $8. It's odd that they're served in big high ball glasses, but whatever.

The Sopa de Cilantro Calabaza is still an amazing soup. It seemed thicker this time. Maybe it'd been sitting around for a little bit? We really didn't mind. Anyone know how to make this soup?

We shared the Plato de Bocadillos. We skipped the beef flauta and doubled up on the sevíche. The sevíche was just sublime, just enough citrus to not overpower the sweetness of the fish, not in the least bit mouth-puckering. Each serving was just a big mouthful, but we were still pleased. The other bocadillos were good too. I was most excited about the Sope de Hogas, but it was simply fine as opposed to excellent. The guac was very good and Quesadilla con Epazote was tasty too.

Our entrees arrived and I'm very pleased to report that the Enchiladas Vegetarianas en Crema de Cilantro were chicken free! We thoroughly enjoyed them. I love that green sauce. It's much better than your typical tomatillo green sauce. I'd like the recipe for that too. We both noticed that the sauce wasn't nearly as vibrant (in color) this time. During our last visit the sauce was nearly neon in its green color. This time it was kinda dull. As far as we could tell, it didn't affect the flavor at all.

We also ordered the Camerones al Mojo de Ajo. This was some seriously good shrimp, perfectly marinated and grilled. They unexpectedly came with tiny little corn tortillas. I don't really like corn tortillas. I want to, but every time I stray away from flour tortillas and order corn, I'm always disappointed. These were the best (and cutest) corn tortillas I've ever had. They really did just rock my world. Perfectly grilled with a very smooth consistency (extra fine corn flour?). I ordered more as each little tortilla perfectly enveloped each jumbo shrimp for the perfect little taco. I drizzled on the olive oil-soaked, charred garlic and topped it all with their wicked, but tolerable, habanero salsa. I don't know if I could have been more pleased. I was really sad once I had finished. I was stuffed, but I felt remorse as the dish was over, like maybe I should have savored it more.

My one small disappointment was the rice that came with the shrimp. It looks like normal white rice, but it's presented in the shape of a pyramid. But before I could dig into my Aztec architecture themed rice, Hale promptly snatched it away. It would seem they cook their rice with chicken broth. I was grateful to Haley for the save, but a little bummed that I didn't get to try the rice. As they're trying to be vegetarian friendly, it'd be nice if they could use some veggie broth for a staple like rice.

I'm really not a dessert kinda guy. I always promise to share with my wife so she doesn't feel guilty about downing a huge slice-o-cake, but normally I take a bite and regret it. Most desserts simply aren't worth washing away the remnant flavors of a good meal. The Pastel de Nuez is worth it. I've had a similar kind of chocolate pecan pie at the Eldorado Grill. That one is also very good, this one might be better. It was one of the few times I regretted not ordering my own slice. My wife generously shared as I went way over my one bite allotment.

Sometime during all of my eating I also ordered another margarita. Delightfully full and slightly tipsy I asked for the check. It wasn't cheap –$90. But it was well worth it. We ordered a ton and were pleased with everything. As I handed over the bill plus an extra $20 for Haley she said, "Thanks so much. By the way you're an excellent writer." I almost lost a little bit of my margarita through my nose.

It would seem the wait staff of Cilantro troll these forums. I guess it's to be expected. I hope I wasn't too critical in my original review. By comping the first visit and delivering an excellent meal this time, I really have no hesitancy in recommending the food or the service.

On the drive home, I did have to explain to my wife why a young, cute, blond waitress thinks I'm an excellent writer. Thankfully, I had time-stamped evidence on these forums to prove everything was plutonic and copacetic. Of course, the other alternative of her husband writing flowery prose for random waitresses probably didn't seem too likely.

Go to Cilantro. It's worth your time and money.
Last edited by Tsur on Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kimm
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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby kimm » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:03 pm

It's next up on our restaurant list, so we appreciate the follow up review. It was Cilantro or Cafe Costa Rica for our anniversary, as we wanted to try both (had only ever food-carted with the Mango Man before). We opted for Cafe Costa Rica, as we wanted to stay downtown. Now, I need to find a reason to blow a wad of money on dinner soon and try Cilantro.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby john_titor » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:29 pm

I had the enchiladas mole con chix.
We also had guacamole, chips and salsa, calebeza soup and the jamaica drink.

I like mole and usually try it at most places I go to. It was delicious. Nice hints of coco and heat and other stuff. The jamaica drink was addictive. The mariachi band was awesome, and frankly, made the experience.

Not to be an un-supportive chisel, but I am not sure I can spend 70 bucks on Mexican again.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby okiebp » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:56 am

just saw where cilantro is offering a lunch buffet.

I'm curious to find out how this will work out for them.
usually buffet food doesn't sit well under heat lamps for a long time.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Beaver » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:03 pm

Thanks for the tip. I called and their lunch buffet is only $8. I will have to check it out:

http://www.cilantrobarandgrill.com/

Lunch Buffet
Tuesday-Friday
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby TAsunder » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:17 pm

We went there for lunch shortly after they added the buffet. Neither of us had the buffet as it didn't have anything noteworthy. The items we got were very disappointing this time; seemingly we were served the crappy section of the beef cut that they have as both of us found the steak chewy and unappetizing in the two dishes we ordered containing steak. Seems like this place is headed in the wrong direction; if they were going for Mexican fine dining then adding a mediocre buffet and serving mediocre steak is bad news.

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Re: Cilantro Bar and Grille

Postby Beaver » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:55 am

Groupon deal at Cilantro. Pay $15 for $30 food.

http://www.groupon.com/deals/cilantro-b ... fa3f894a50


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