Monday, March 19, 2012

Betting on a Good Meal at Garduno's?

Garduno's of Mexico
2400 North Rancho Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89130

We made it to Vegas right in time to have dinner with some family friends. Some of them live in Vegas and some of them live back in Orange County. The ones that were here from OC were here for a bowling trip. They come to Vegas at least two times a year and almost always eat at Garduno's.

Garduno's has won numerous awards for their Mexican food. On there web site they claim to have won, "Best Mexican Restaurant in Las Vegas", fifteen years running. There is another location in town at the Palms Hotel, and these restaurants are an off shoot of a couple of other restaurants from New Mexico. This location of Garduno's is situated off the beaten track, at the Fiesta Hotel and Casino. This casino has seen its better days, and it caters mostly to locals. I was excited to try this place because most locals know the best places to eat, so I had some high hopes that this would be good.

Above is the lovely Jamie posing in front of the salsa bar at Garduno's. At the salsa bar they featured five different kinds of salsa. The best of the bunch in my opinion was the red salsa, which had a little kick to it. I do wish that it had a little more chunk to it, but it was good nonetheless. The bean dip was also a personal favorite as well. I almost always enjoy bean dip when it is offered. The chips here were pretty good.

Debra Jo does not really like to get crazy when it comes to Mexican food, so she almost always gets a taco plate. She likes this restaurant because they offer ground beef tacos. She finished most of this with no problem, but did not make too much of a dent in her rice and beans.

Richard got a little more adventurous in his selection for dinner with the New Mexico Chili Bowl. This chili combined ground beef, refried beans, hatch red chili sauce, melted cheese, and tortilla strips. He was not too happy with the spiciness of this chili, but the bites I snuck of this were full of flavor. This chili was a little more soupy than a chili, but it did not diminish my thoughts of this plate.

Jamie must take after her Mother when it comes to eating because she chose a basic Closed Quesadilla. At Garduno's they offer two types of quesadillas, open and closed. The open one is coming up. This closed quesadilla usually comes with sour cream, jalapenos, and pico de gallo. Of course Jamie reverted to her preschool days and omitted all of these options to come up with a quesadilla that any five year old would envy. She did eat almost half of this though, so maybe she can stay up past when the street lights come on.

Now as promised is the Open Quesadilla. This open version seemed more like a Mexican pizza to me, but whatever they call it, Katie was not too big of a fan of this. This tortilla was covered with cheese, melted, and then dusted with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream. The result was a quesadilla that turned out dry. This would have been helped by some refried beans, and some chicken that was not over cooked. Katie would not get this again.

Trinity, the big carnivore of the group tried the Steak Fajitas here. This half pound serving actually looked like a half pound of meat. I very rarely order fajitas out because they almost always load you up with onions and peppers, and then they skimp out on the meat. This was not the case here. The meat had a great flavor, and there seemed to be plenty of it. Trinity for once seemed very happy with her meal, and her parents were happy she was eating, so she would stop talking for at least a few minutes. Just kidding T! (not really though!)

Both Denise and I went with Chimichangas for our dinners, and we both had the same mediocre reaction to them. Mine was filled with Machaca that can best be described as dry, (notice a trend here?). The meat was also bland tasting. Mixing the meat with the beans and rice made this better though. Denise's Pollo Chimi presented the same problem, it was desert dry as well. Fitting since we are in Vegas, but not fun to eat dry chicken.

I am sure you can see how this review is going to go by reading it. We were not that impressed by this place. The food was okay, with a lot of the food below average. I am sure there are better Mexican places to eat in Vegas, this is just not one of them. There were a few bright spots here. The bean dip, the New Mexico chili, and the steak fajitas were all good, but could not make up for the dry meats in the other meals. Service was consistent throughout our visit here. Almost all of their prices hover around the $12 mark. Portion sizes were pretty good for what you pay. We are in Vegas, so this place might be a gamble for you to try. Sorry, could not resist.

Out of five tennis racquets, (because tennis legend, Andre Agassi is from Las Vegas), five being best to zero being worst, Garduno's of Mexico gets 2 tennis racquets.

For more information on Garduno's, click here:

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