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Abuelos

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Abuelos

Postby erg57 » Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:28 pm

Is open. Went there. Next to PF Changs. Food was ok. Service was very attentive. Had to remember it's a chain. Not sure if its Madison's solution to its Mexican cuisine issue. Should do well on that side of town.

I was not thrilled with their marketing efforts asking us to fill out paperwork a number of times, but understand this somewhat in the information age. Will go again once the initial break-in period ends.
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Postby mudduck » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:17 pm

No expert food guy here, but in my opinion if it's a real full-service Mexican restaurant they offer Menudo on weekends. http://www.abuelos.com/soups.asp?showmenu=yes
This place looks kind of like a re-born Chi Chi's.
Maybe it's great though. I don't know.

What is all this paperwork they asked you to fill out? I hope you sabotaged it.
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Postby erg57 » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:46 pm

mudduck wrote:No expert food guy here, but in my opinion if it's a real full-service Mexican restaurant they offer Menudo on weekends. http://www.abuelos.com/soups.asp?showmenu=yes
This place looks kind of like a re-born Chi Chi's.
Maybe it's great though. I don't know.

What is all this paperwork they asked you to fill out? I hope you sabotaged it.


They wanted address and e-mail for promotional items. We chose not to fill anything out. It seemed like work and I try not to do that on the weekend if I can help it.
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Postby TAsunder » Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:46 am

Oh my god, a chain! Oh, the horror!

Seriously though, I guess attentive service in the early days means that one can't excuse the bad service at PF Changs as being due to only opening recently.

The prices look about the same as some of the other mexican restaurants where you sit down (Casa De Lara, Frida). How does it compare to those places?
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Postby erg57 » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:49 pm

If I remeber it was comparably priced those places you mentioned.
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Postby aaron » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:02 am

Had lunch there yesterday and found it quite good.

The dining room itself is very big and beautifully appointed. Although we were not asked to fill out any questionnaires, I will admit that the staff went a bit overboard with the "Is everything ok??" bit...to the point that you kind of wanted them to disappear for awhile and let you eat in peace.

Had the chile rellenos and would order them again.

Colleague had a HUGE Fajita Chicken Salad with practically an entire half of an avocado sliced over the top. I didn't taste it, but she raved about it.

Salsa was nice and spicy, chips were fresh and crispy. The guacacole was outstanding...very fresh and flavorful.

The side dish with the potatoes and chiles was also excellent...a very nice depature from the tired old rice you usually get.

In all...I think this will be a big success. In fact, I have convinced some of my work buddies to go again this Thursday.
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Postby TAsunder » Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:06 am

Went there last night. The menu is surprisingly sparse, but it is reasonably priced. Some of the combinations that run $10-$15 can easily feed two. I got one that had 4 enchiladas, a chile relleno, and a chicken taco. Plus the usual beans or mexican mashed potato.

The place is definitely very americanized, so while it may not be quite the same experience as pelayo's, el pastor, etc. it is still worth checking out if you are in the mood for casa de lara / chi chi's / fida style food.

I liked the decor, although the fake blue sky looked cheesy. But the light coming from the fake blue sky area was nice. As mentioned, the service was quite good.

The drink menu looked pretty interesting. Lots of focus on Sangrias instead of the usual focus on Margaritas. An extensive menu of Tequila too.

My only complaint is that this is one of those restaurants where they mention a "feature" or "special" that is just an item already on the menu for the same price as listed on the menu. Kind of strange, but not totally unusual I guess.

When thinking about mexican restaurants, I often compare them to cempazuchi in milwaukee. This is not at the same level as that place, but still worth visiting.
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Postby morriskatze » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:01 pm

TAsunder wrote: it is still worth checking out if you are in the mood for casa de lara / chi chi's / fida style food.


I don't understand how Chi Chi's got into that trio - not even close to the same quality!

TAsunder wrote: When thinking about mexican restaurants, I often compare them to cempazuchi in milwaukee. This is not at the same level as that place, but still worth visiting.


Where is this place? I'd love to try it sometime.

I was at Abuelo's for lunch on Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it's a little pricey, but I thought it was worth it for the level of service and for as much as I enjoyed the food.

Vegetarians beware - the *very* nice waiter warned me that the spinach for the spinach enchiladas is cooked in bacon grease and the rice is made with chicken stock. I was impressed that he volunteered this information once he guessed I was vegetarian, and saved me from ordering the spinach enchiladas. Usually you have to go through a sort of inquisition in which wait-staff tell you whatever they think you want to hear. To top it off, he told his trainee to be sure she always lets people know this. He admitted that Abuelo's isn't very vegetarian friendly (only the avocado enchiladas, veg fajitas, and some of the salads are veg) but really, as long as they keep you informed, it's no worse than any other restaurant in this area.

The chips were light and crisp, the salsa spicy and flavorful, and the guacamole very fresh with diced sweet onions and tomatoes in it.

I enjoyed the avocado enchiladas with ranchero sauce, and the potatoes do make a nice alternative to rice, as previously mentioned on this thread.

The refried beans might have been my favorite, because I actually liked them, unlike my usual reaction of distaste to refried beans. They reminded me of the refried beans served at Tia's Tex-Mex in the Dallas area. :)

My husband had some bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp, which is also like a dish he's enjoyed at Tia's Tex-Mex. It almost makes it unnecessary to go back to Texas at all. ;)

One thing I noticed about the drink selection was the feature of beer over ice with a lime and salted rim. I think I'd like to try that sometime, but wasn't quite in the mood for it Sunday.

My husband and I agreed that we're glad it's all the way on the opposite side of town from where we live, or else we'd be fat and broke. ;)
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Postby TAsunder » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:06 pm

Chi Chi's is not as good but it's basically that same style of food, just prepared poorly.

All mexican/spanish rice should be cooked in chicken stock. If it isn't, it's probably not very good!

Cempazuchi is somewhere on brady street, near prospect.
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Postby GenieU » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:52 am

Bright yellow rice, or soup for that matter, got that way from being cooked with Chicken Feet!!!! Pretty Gnarly, Huh?
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Postby aaron » Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:31 am

I liked the place so much I went back again today. This time had the avocado enchiladas! I could sit and eat their chips, salsa and quacamole all day long...

Personally, while this may not be of the same caliber you could get in, say, Austin or San Antonio, I so far think it's the best Mexican place in town, bar none.
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Postby morriskatze » Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:36 pm

TAsunder wrote:All mexican/spanish rice should be cooked in chicken stock. If it isn't, it's probably not very good!

Cempazuchi is somewhere on brady street, near prospect.


You haven't tried my Mexican rice!

Thanks for the info on Cempazuchi.

Aaron, I think Abuelo's *is* of the same caliber you could get in Austin or San Antonio. Which is why I'll be back there often.
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Postby neuwaver » Wed May 03, 2006 10:33 pm

This place typifies bland, poorly done Mexican. And to have such a poor selection to boot! Utterly uncalled for.

I am so surprised by the positive reviews. My experience was three enchiladas drowned in bland sauces, very little filling, and lots of MEAT.

No freshness, no spice to be had anywhere.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu May 04, 2006 9:45 am

Mexican food is always bland. Sometimes they add some chili peppers, but that doesn't make it taste any better to me.
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Postby Chuck_Schick » Thu May 04, 2006 10:23 am

TAsunder wrote:Mexican food is always bland.

I no longer understand what the fuck any of you are talking about. Mexican food catered to gringos is typically bland, which leads be to believe Abuelo's is about as authentic as the $50 Rolex you can buy from the guy on St. Mark's place.

I will say, however, that Neuwaver's post accurately encapsulates my uninformed expectations of what this place would be like. So, TA, if you're saying Abuelo's is good and good means bland ... well, I'm not really inclined to make the special trip.
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