Last night my husband and I decided to try out a new restaurant. We chose Tortuga Mexican Kitchen at the corner of Highway 6 and West Little York because we had heard good things about it.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was a little bit surprised because there were hardly any cars and it was dinner time on a Saturday night. When we walked in, the decor was average and comparable with other Mexican restaurants in the area. We were seated immediately, which was nice.
A quick glance at the menu told us that Tortuga's is a bit more expensive than other Mexican restaurants in the area. The average price for their entrees ranged between $9 and $11 and the price for a fajita plate for one was almost $16. We don't mind paying a little bit more for good food, and so our expectations were high. Unfortuately, the food did not live up to our expectations.
I ordered the Guadalajara dinner, which came with a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, a tamale, and rice and beans. To say that the cheese enchilada was unremarkable would be an understatement. It had very little flavor and the filling tasted like it had come from a can. My daughter, who is two and will usually eat anything that involves cheese, turned it away after she tasted it once. I couldn't finish it either. The tamale and rice were both very dry and didn't have much flavor, either. The taco was OK, but it's pretty hard to mess up a taco.
My husband ordered the Enchilada Verde, which is chicken enchiladas covered with a tomatillo sauce. I tasted his and wished that I would have ordered it for myself. It wasn't super impressive, but it definitely had more flavor than my meal did.
The kids menu is typical and includes choices like macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, corn dogs, and a quesadilla. The price for a kids meal is $3.99 which is pretty standard and it includes the entree, a choice of fries or rice and beans as a side, and a drink. My daughter had the quesadilla and it was pretty comparable with the kids menu at other Mexican restaurants where we have eaten.
The only thing that I was impressed with here was their salsa. It had a rich, hearty flavor that made it hard for you to stop eating it but a zip that catches up with you and makes your mouth burn. It was definitely among some of the better salsa I have had, but that alone is not enough of a reason for me to go back again. For those who may be accustomed to having the "green sauce" served with their chips and salsa at restaurants around here, this is not something that they offer at Tortuga's.
My husband was impressed by the fact that they offered free wi-fi access. He had his palm pilot with him, so he tested it out and said it was pretty fast. Again, this is not enough of a reason for us to return....we can access the internet from home if we need to and internet access is usually not an important feature in our dining out decisions anyway.
We were not overly impressed by the service here. Our waitress arrived shortly after we were seated to take our order and returned quickly with our drinks. We didn't see her for awhile after that and even began to wonder if her shift had ended. We were seated in the non-smoking section, but there was a door that led to an outside patio right across from us and the employees kept going out there to smoke, so we'd get the wafts of smoke every time they went in and out.
We had high expectations, and Tortuga's did not live up to them. We found out that they are owned by the same company that owns other local Mexican restaurants including Crazy Jose's, Casa Ole, Monterey's Tex Mex Cafe, Little Mexico, and La Senorita. We ate at Casa Ole at few weeks ago and we were much more impressed with the food there (and it was a lot less expensive). It was worth a try and we weren't too disappointed since we used the $5 off coupon in the Entertainment book, but in the future when we're craving Mexican food, we'll probably just stick with La Finca, which is our local favorite.