Friday, August 21

La Condesa – The Truth shall set you free!

I’ve been struggling with this review and sitting on it for quite a while now. As a food writer/criticon, I believe in writing about the whole experience – los sabores, impressions, feelings, attitudes – todo. I also believe food bloggers should be honest about their experiences and do it in a way that is constructive; helpful and honest. Just because something wasn’t just right doesn’t mean the place & the food sucks!

So here’s my take on La Condesa

A while back we stopped by on a Sunday morning looking for some downtown tacos. First off, the place is really nice, has modern Latin American feel to it & I hear the bar is really good. It was brunch time but we weren’t too hungry so we just ordered the Pot Belly taco plate. It was our only option. When the food arrived, it was definitely photo worthy. The tacos were dressed really nice with caramelized onions, cabbage, pineapple, cilantro & topped with a green salsa. What a picture! I was very excited to eat this little taco and yes, I do mean little – it was more of a callejero taco which are traditionally made with mini-tortillas. I was about to dig in until I saw little green bits of avocado on the salsa. Apparently, “sometimes the chef likes to add new ingredients to the food” as it comes out; before I ordered I checked to make sure there were no avocado ingredients in this taco – yes, I’m allergic – I know, lame. Anyjuays! They had to bring me another plate without the green killer!

Mira, que pretty!

Meanwhile, my taco buddies went to town on their tacos only to find out that they weren’t so good. They were super greasy and pretty much that ruined their experience. When I got my tacos, I was surprised that they just plopped down two little tortillas with meat on a small plate – no cebollitas, no cilantro, no cabbage – for some reason they didn’t feel like impressing this taco eater. As I picked up the taco to eat it, I did notice an overflow of grease dripping down towards my plate. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a greasy pork taco but I expected more from this place. It was waaaay greasy. The kind that just sticks to the roof of your mouth and teef! I did let them know about their greasiness and the manager’s response was, “that’s how pot belly tacos are, they’re just greasy.” Now I know pork and I know greasy tacos, from homemade carnitas & chicharrones to tacos callejeros en el D.F. and I’ve never had tacos that greasy. I wouldn’t have minded the greasiness if the tacos weren’t 2 for $12! Yes, they’re 6 bucks a pop & they don’t even make their own tortillas. I’m sorry but if you’re going to charge me $6 for one taco, I’d expect to see La India Maria making the tortillas in kitchen!

La Graza!

They did apologize and offered to serve us something else from the menu but we had to go! At the end, they comp’d our meal so that made me feel better. Earlier I did talk with the chef and I asked him why it was so expensive and his reply was, “I gotta pay the bills.”

Well, that was few months ago. I’ve heard mix reviews but I do hope they’ve improved on their prices and tacos!

1.5 Stars (only because it was comp'd)

@elmundodemando

La Condesa

512-499-0300

400 A West 2nd Street

Austin, TX 78701

10 comments:

Optimista said...

Mando, I had the EXACT same experience there. Greasy, greasy, greasy, and not in the tasty way. :(

Boots in the Oven said...

Very interesting - I've been looking forward to your review of this place! Yeah, the prices are breathtaking, and I totally agree that the food doesn't really stack up. I felt a little had, and like we were definitely paying for ambience!

Rachel

Laura said...

I haven't tried their tacos, but I've had some of their other food, and while some of it was good, i'm not sure it was worth the price. Ambiance is definitely the key component here. However, they do have $1 (or maybe it's $2?) Tecate happy hour.

Jodi said...

Yuck! That sounds gross and I'd be mad if I had paid that much for a taco that tasted way worse than what I could have gotten out of a cart on S. 1st. I haven't spent much time at La Condesa, I was at one of their opening parties but there was no food or drink to be seen. Weird! Maybe I'll check it out one day but not on my salary. Can we say, "client dinner?!"

Rantor said...

Garridos is the answer! Carnitas! y mas!

PhotographerJava said...

I feel better now that I know I'm not the only person who translates 'avacado' to 'poison'.

El Mundo De Mando said...

Guau! I thought I was alone on the avacado poison.

And for the rest of you, I'm here to please!

chappy said...

i had a great experience on my only trip to la condesa... pricy yes, but i enjoyed the unique menu items and everything i ate was tasty..we were in a big group so i got to try plenty of dishes.

Lesley said...

I think using the word "Condesa" in your name might be a curse. There used to be a La Condesa in Dallas (not sure if it's still there), and the food was mediocre, too, although it looked pretty.

TIGER said...

if you're talking about the cochinita pibil, I have to completely disagree with you... cochinita is supposed to be juicy and drip "grease" all over... it's what makes it so good! as far as La Condesa's cochinita pibil, it's my favorite in town, and they definitely make their own tortillas. but don't go for the tacos, their ceviches and entrees are the reason I can't get enough.