Monday, September 29

For a tasteless experience, go to Manuel's DT

Seriously. I've never been to a place that I couldn't wait to leave. I usually don't frequent these types of places but I did have coupons so I said 'what the hey' and decided to try it out. Bad mistake. Well, at first it was bit nice. Good decorative appearance (kinda fancy) with a certian cleanliness to it. I opened the menu and I did see some choices that sounded good. They had good variety of enchiladas, carnes, mariscos and they even had Sopes for appetizers. Although the prices were pretty steep. $13-22 for an order of enchiladas & 9 for a taco plate. Gulp!

The problems started when I took a little closer look at the menu. They described their "flautas" as grilled enchiladas. I was like what? Are they flautas or are they enchiladas? I think they were dumbing it down for well, downtown type folks or tourists or somesing. They brought over some pretty stale chips and some kind of watery tomato paste they were pawning off as salsa.

You are not salsa!

I ordered the Sopes and in appearance they looked good but in taste, they had nothing. They were topped with black beans and red chile. The maza, beans and chile taste were no where to be found. It was like chewing on pasty flour water. Even the beans had nothing to offer.

Above: Sopes Before; Below: Sopes afterwards when I had to load it up with pepper to give it some flavor!

I also ordered the chicken fajitas and instead I got pieces of a rubber chicken. Yeah, it was that bad. And I'm a big fan of rubber chickens. They are quite the comic prop. But not in this case. Even the tortillas that came with the order were too chewy and barely warm. I think Manuel's was one of the places that started off good back in the day, but they seemed to have lost the passion for good food and instead settled for less than mediocracy. The only redeeming hope was the service; it was good.

Manuel's Downtown - 2 Stars
310 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

El Mundo de Mando


Anonymous said...

I went there once, on somebody else's dime. Really enjoyed the beef fajitas. But I can see the potential for Manuel's to be exactly as you say. It's too clean!

t. Cooke said...

I'm serious about this: The Manuals downtown has always sucked but the Manuels by the Arboretum is a favorite of mine. I don't know why they are different but they seem to be. I know others who feel this way!

There has been many times friends suggest eating at Manuel's downtown and I say "Hell no!" I've been there three times and each was not good. I felt robbed. I used to not think that there was bad Mexican food but I can site a number of examples now. Manuels Downtown is one.

Mando Rayo said...

I'm glad you both feel my pain!

dquack said...

Never been to the Manuel's downtown, but went to the one in the Arboretum a few times in the tech heyday when it was the place up north to meet for lunch. Was never impressed and am surprised it's still around. The buzz is great but the food is okay.

Speaking of which, I think the same thing is true of Maudies. I've never been to the original, but have gone to two different locations, five years apart. Last time was Tuesday at the Davenport Village. The food is okay, but not the "oh wow" everyone talks about. I could have gotten the same food, just as good, at a hole in the wall Mexican joint.

Cabeza De Taco said...

OK- I gotta disagree...Maybe they had an off night. But also you didn't try the right dishes/

Seriously, you guys need to try their Chili Rellenos - there's 3 different ones - all excellent. and the enchiladas are always great too.

That said - I've always liked the arboretum location best...downtown is too small and busy.

i'd say give it one more chance before writing it off.


Mando Rayo said...

It's probably too pricey for me to try it again. lucky for them they get people that do try it again. not this one. you gotta serve good food the first time. a
Also, I haven't found any good spots for enchiladas (with actual homemade rich sauce) or chile rellenos (enough with the poblano - that chile is too weak).