Jalapeno's

Restaurant Details

Franchised Mexican restaurants tend to have lots of thematic architecture, lots of young preppy servers and lots of boring food. I've had my fill of chimichangas and fried ice cream.

But I do like Jalapeño's, which advertises and delivers "home made" Mexican food. Here they offer traditional items like mole and menudo. The menu even includes lengua ("slices of beef tongue seasoned with our own spices") for $7.25.

But I do like Jalapeño's, which advertises and delivers "home made" Mexican food. Here they offer traditional items like mole and menudo. The menu even includes lengua ("slices of beef tongue seasoned with our own spices") for $7.25.

Of course they have tacos and fajitas, but the emphasis here seems to be on authenticity rather than marketing savvy.

Of course they have tacos and fajitas, but the emphasis here seems to be on authenticity rather than marketing savvy.

Great music more than made up for a modest interior decorated with bullfight ads, travel posters of Chichen Itza, glossy photos of Selena and other assorted art. Piñatas hang from the ceiling, and colorful blankets serve as tablecloths. We were quickly served chips and a fresh salsa with a pleasant hint of cilantro, and service remained good throughout.

Great music more than made up for a modest interior decorated with bullfight ads, travel posters of Chichen Itza, glossy photos of Selena and other assorted art. Piñatas hang from the ceiling, and colorful blankets serve as tablecloths. We were quickly served chips and a fresh salsa with a pleasant hint of cilantro, and service remained good throughout.

As an appetizer we enjoyed the sopes, three tortillalike shells -- half the size but twice as thick as usual -- topped with beans, beef, and chicken ( $4.25). There was plenty of food for two people to share. Among the other appetizers are nachos, melted cheese with pork sauce, and chicken or tortilla soup.

As an appetizer we enjoyed the sopes, three tortillalike shells -- half the size but twice as thick as usual -- topped with beans, beef, and chicken ( $4.25). There was plenty of food for two people to share. Among the other appetizers are nachos, melted cheese with pork sauce, and chicken or tortilla soup.

Our entrees were flautas de pollo ($5.50) and chile poblano ($7.95), which were both good. Each was served with refried beans, a scoop of mildly seasoned rice and shredded lettuce with dressing. The flautas were quite large, with shredded chicken wrapped in corn tortillas the texture of puff pastry. My large green chili was stuffed with cheese, battered, fried and served alongside an enchilada. Each item on our plates had a clear, fresh and distinct flavor.

Our entrees were flautas de pollo ($5.50) and chile poblano ($7.95), which were both good. Each was served with refried beans, a scoop of mildly seasoned rice and shredded lettuce with dressing. The flautas were quite large, with shredded chicken wrapped in corn tortillas the texture of puff pastry. My large green chili was stuffed with cheese, battered, fried and served alongside an enchilada. Each item on our plates had a clear, fresh and distinct flavor.

Other interesting options are carne asada a la Tampequina (grilled steak), camarones a la Veracruzana (sautéed shrimp with tomatoes) and Chicago-style burritos made with strips of steak. There are several combo platters as well as children's plates. Everything is affordable with the most expensive entree topping out at $8.95.

Other interesting options are carne asada a la Tampequina (grilled steak), camarones a la Veracruzana (sautéed shrimp with tomatoes) and Chicago-style burritos made with strips of steak. There are several combo platters as well as children's plates. Everything is affordable with the most expensive entree topping out at $8.95.

The menu includes margaritas, common Mexican beers and imported soft drinks. The prepared-to-order sangria ($1.95) was particularly good.

The menu includes margaritas, common Mexican beers and imported soft drinks. The prepared-to-order sangria ($1.95) was particularly good.

Jalapeño's is fun, cheap, and filling. It doesn't have the atmosphere and conviviality of the big chain restaurants, but it has a style of its own.

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