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Posted by TSH11040 on 03/17/2012
Sadly, although the food was great the service was extremely rude. I am allergic to cilantro and while ordering I mentioned this and the server said it would be no problem not to add the cilantro. First course of nachos arrived sprinkled with cilantro. I was lucky to be able to eat two chips that did not contain the herb. We told our waiter and he did not seem to care and did not even apologize. The second aspect about our experience was that it was St. Patricks day and we were dressed in green. The waiter banned our table from ordering drinks claiming we were visibly intoxicated, clearly not the case since that was our first stop of the day. If we were "VIP" then they should not allow us in the restaurant at all. In any case, the food was good but the overall experience was such a disappointment that I will not be returning.
Posted by mexijew on 07/28/2011
Opted not to try the chips and salsa at $3.50 or the $10 dollar guac.! Already a rip! How about free chips and salsa and $5 guac? The enchiladas and tacos I tried were quite good. Definitely worth trying! Yet the tacos were very small.. They have a great hot sauce available if you ask. Had at least one side come with the tacos without extra charge I would have given the "value" a higher mark but I had to throw in an extra $3.50 for refried beans. Though the beans are exceptionally good, you'd still expect a decent portion for $3.50 but they really only give you a smattering... Steven is going for max profit with this place. Food is good enough if you try it you'll probably come back but not affordable enough for you to frequent the place as it's not THAT good. Their loss. They do have a 5-6:30 happy hour with dollar tacos advertised however I haven't gone at that time yet. If you want comparable mexican try Taqueria Vercruzana at 10th and washington: byob, free chips and salsa, and 3 tacos 3 times bigger for 3 bucks less than El Rey.
Posted by anonymous on 10/03/2010
I was initially excited about Stephen Starr's latest venture in this former Midtown Diner space. The menu even looked promising. But the $3.50 chips and salsa were the first sign of trouble. If you're paying for chips and salsa, they should at least be noteworthy, or come with some options for salsa. Note that no entree includes a side (not a bean, not a grain of rice), despite the fact that you're already dealing with overpriced Mexican food! The skirt steak was clearly not cooked properly and was tough, chewy, and fatty, and there wasn't a steak knife to be found in the joint to cut it. The interior was too dark, and the music was blaring bass which simply made it noisy. Oh, and be prepared to wait in line to use the one toilet available to a room full of 50 people. After you've had your tiny $7 goblet of mediocre margarita. Needless to say, it was a big disappointment. Skip this place and go to South Philly for some real, reasonably priced Mexican food. Or, go to the real Midtown Diner up the street!
Posted by minnyc on 07/03/2010
The one thing that I miss the most since moving from LA is authentic Mexican food. My sister and I were initially piqued by El Rey because of the slightly seedy exterior. We found out it was a Stephen Starr restaurant prior to going, but were still eager to try it. First, the interior makes me think of what Tijuana might have been like in the 70s. An aging fancy restaurant catering to northerners who want something both foreign and familiar. The food mirrors the interior perfectly and deliciously. The food is Mexican, but amped up. The carnitas tacos prepared with traditionally with cilantro and onion has big juicy chunks of pork belly that one would never find at a taqueria in the barrio, but you wish you could. Likewise, the flank steak sope has tender medium rare beef that is tastier than most carne asada. We also ordered the mango mimosa which was not too sweet and pleasingly bubbly. Lastly, the waitstaff was not only attentive, but also enthusiastic about the menu. Overall, this was a great dining experience. I really look forward to going back again for cocktails and queso fundido at the bar. PS - I gave a 3 for value because tacos in LA are $1.50 but the quality and quantity does make up for some of the difference.