REVIEW: The secret is out, so dine in

When searching for an authentic Mexican restaurant, always go where the locals of Hispanic heritage go to eat. Generally speaking, the food is better. At El Tejavan, the service is good and the atmosphere is light and pleasant with live musicians and/or singers.

On a recent visit, the atmosphere was pleasant and the dining area was clean. The employees were polite, well-mannered, efficient and educated about the menu. The service seemed to run smoothly, and the employees who were on break were eating the food with great gusto. My family sampled a variety of dishes and was satisfied.

The chips were good, but they didn’t taste like they were made in-house. The salsa was delicious. I wanted to take some home. We also ordered queso dip that cost $5.99. It was a twist on the traditional dip, with a creamier, almost buttery chicken broth flavor. Jalapeno slices, tomato and onion were served atop it. Muy bueno.

My husband and I split the three-taco plate and the Chicken Rancheros. The tacos cost $8.49, and the Chicken Rancheros cost $10.99.

We both really enjoyed the carne asada tacos the most because they were simple and delicious. It came with steak, cilantro and onions on a corn tortilla and a slice of lime. The tacos were served with rice and either refried beans or charros. We ordered charros. They were spicy, but the texture and flavor were good. The rice, although not the best I have ever had, was palatable, and the texture was fluffy and light.

We weren’t as impressed with the Chicken Rancheros because the sauce overwhelmed the fresh vegetable and meat flavors. However, it still was good when wrapped in a tortilla with rice, queso and guacamole. For a dollar more, you can get Bistec Rancheros, which my oldest son ordered. He enjoyed it, but it was a bit spicy for him. Both types come with a side of corn or flour tortillas, rice, beans and guacamole.

This was the closest we’ve come to real Mexican Food since we lived in California.

The girls ordered one chicken and one beef order of Enchiladas El Tejavan. They cost $8.99 each. They also come with the same sides of rice, beans and guacamole. One of my girls loved the beef enchiladas; the other preferred the rice, chips and salsa because she thought the chicken was a bit greasy. The guacamole is made with real avocados, and it was delightful.

My younger son ordered the carne asada, which cost $10.99 and was “So delicious, Mom!” It is served with the aforementioned sides, including your choice of tortillas. According to him, it was money well spent.

We ordered sodas, lemonade and tea, which cost $1.99 each and come with free refills.

Our server, Thalia, did a great job meeting our needs. She refilled drinks, salsa and chips throughout dinner and was very pleasant.

The facilities were usable, and the fact that two doors separated them from the dining area was a plus. The negative was that the restrooms needed to be serviced and an air freshener would have been a nice touch.

Check it out if you get a craving for Mexican food that isn’t watered down. It is worth the money.

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