Wednesday, April 8

El Sol Y La Luna

El Sol Y La Luna (credit: Zesmerala/Flickr)

El Sol Y La Luna has been around forever. Its old location, on South Congress in front of the Austin Motel, was a typical Mexican restaurant: nothing fancy and straightforward service. I went there every now and then, but never really cared for the food, or the fact that they charged for chips and salsa.

Free chips and salsa at a sitdown restaurant is a God-given right. If I pay $3 (THREE DOLLARS!) for chips, they better be homemade and warm. They should probably also do my homework. El Sol Y La Luna's chips are of the subpar, cold, crunchy, probably-store-bought variety. I was very disappointed. The salsa, at least, is decent; but it doesn't make up for the chips or the cost.

At the new location, some things have changed, but, unfortunately, not the important stuff. The new locale is definitely more attractive than the old one (and more attractive than "Emo's Lounge" as well.) The new interior is well put together and has a bit of an upscale air about it (think: Manuel's). Unfortunately, they still charge for chips and salsa. Oh ... and the food is of the same quality and taste as always.

I went on two occasions (paying a total of $6 for chips and salsa!) The first time I sampled Nilda's Taco Plate. It was a respectable chicken taco with a pleasant mesquite flavor, topped by some actual leafy green vegetable (as opposed to shredded iceberg lettuce). The refried beans and the rice were undistinguished.

On my second visit I tried the Guisada plate. The corn tortillas were limp and moist, like they'd been steamed. There were also too few of them and I ended up with more meat than tortilla. The meat itself was nice and tender, but was lacking any kick. It reminded me of a pot roast my 50-year-old mother from Indiana would make. That is not what I'm looking for at a Mexican restaurant.

The location is well-placed to serve the downtown lunch crowd that would otherwise have few good walking-distance taco options. If you like to pay too much for tacos, too much for chips, and too much for iced tea ($2), this is your place.

El Sol Y La Luna - 2.5 stars - The Commish
600 E. 6th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 440-7770


Thomas Lockney said...

I know this is the *Taco* Journalism blog, but seriously... going to El Sol Y la Luna and ordering a taco plate is like going to steakhouse and ordering a hamburger. I mean, seriously now... this is just wrong.

Granted it's been a long while since I've been there (it's a long drive from Portland), but I still crave their Enchiladas Verdes pretty much constantly. As I recall, their mole is pretty tasty, too.

The Commish said...

I welcome your contributions to our new blog: enchilada journalism.

Mando Rayo said...

I was just there & it looks like they are back to business as usual - crappy service & not so good food!

Anonymous said...

Well, as much as I liked the staff.. The service was slow. After sitting and ordering my drinks, it took 25 minutes (with server repeatedly saying he'll be right back with the drinks). The chips were just like bagged store-brand chips, and cost $3. And the margarita's were overpriced. Come'on - a Sangria Margarita in a small margarita glass for $9.00? And I don't get to keep the glass? And to add salt & lime to a beer is $1.00? Well, the place is nice and location is awesome. I just wish I could afford to go there again.

Melissa said...

I'm slightly partial because I play there, BUT I do believe chips and salsa are now free! Their ceviche is GREAT and their enchiladas are the thing to order when you go. I can't say I've ever been tempted to try the tacos. Yes I know... this is "taco" journalism. Not enchilada or ceviche journalism. but that's just my two cents. If anything, go for the mariachis on Friday nights! Shameless self-promotion, sorry. :)