Wednesday, August 22, 2007

El Jaliciense Taqueria

Nashville Restaurants and Food
El Jaliciense Taqueria
6321 Charlotte Pike

Guacamole can be a revealing appetizer at Mexican restaurants. There are dozens of different styles, some regional and some just a matter of taste. One thing that remains standard at all good Mexican restaurants: the Guacamole has to be fresh and homemade. We were off to a good start at El Jaliciense. We found Guacamole to have thick chunks of ripe avocado and a hint of lime. It’s a simple version, without all the spice and add-ins, but the freshness ruled the day.

El Jaliciense is a family owned taqueria. The menu is made up of straightforward Mexican American items. This isn’t the place to go if you’re feeling adventurous. Menudo (spicy tripe soup) and Posole (a thick soup made with pork and hominy) are about as wild as it gets. However, it is a taqueria, and that’s probably to be expected. The emphasis here is simple food done right.

The Chile Rellenos are fresh poblanos, stuffed with a creamy cheese and topped with sauce. The El Jaliciense twist to this is a unique, perhaps roux based, sauce with a light, citrusy flavor. It compliments the dish, without overwhelming. The poblanos are lightly fried and not gummed up in tons of breading.

The Bistek a al Mexicana is pounded flat beef, char grilled and served up with grilled onions, tomatoes, peppers and jalapeno peppers. Some careful tasting revealed that the jalapenos were the real deal. By picking around them I managed to experience a nice little burn to the lips, without getting overwhelmed.

Grilling is a regular theme at El Jaliciense. There’s grilled chicken and a lunch special that features grilled strips of beef, ham and chorizo covered with cheese. Seafood was a popular choice on the day we visited. One smiling young man tackled a grande sized bowl of caldo de marisco filled with shrimp. Another shrimp item comes grilled with a special hot sauce.

The menu has a vegetarian section and the staff was happy to explain whether other items had meat or not. The service was quick and efficient. Best of all they really seem to enjoy being in the restaurant business. At one point there was a boo-boo back in the kitchen and what sounded like 20 plastic cups crashed to the floor. A woman serving another table just smiled and offered a few words of encouragement.

Veggie Eater: Probably the best Chile Relleno I've had in Nashville; the chiles appear to be fresh, not frozen as I've had in a lot of other restaurants. The enchilada sauce was great; satiny and citrusy. Portions are generous; my rellenos came with rice, beans, guacomole, lettuce, tomatoes. More than enough left over to look forward to a great lunch later in the week.

Meat Eater: Our total for lunch was $25 with tax and tip. Charlotte Pike is a great alternative to Nolensville Road if you want to explore the world of food. You can choose from Korean, Vietnamese, Indian and a growing selection of excellent Mexican restaurants. It’s also worth a stop to the west-side version of K and S foods, the massive international super market, which has rows and rows of foods from China, Thailand, Mexico, India, the Philippines, just to name a few.
El Jalisiense Taqueria on Urbanspoon


Lannae said...

So, it was my birthday last week, and I was deciding on where I wanted to go for my birthday. It was a toss up for going to a random, never eaten at, restaurant on upper Charlotte, or somewhere kitchy like make your own pancakes or Loveless. Loveless won this time. Next year, if I go to El Jaliciense, I am definitely getting the guac!

Eric and Katie said...

Loveless is always a good time....and happy birthday! I usually opt for a steak joint on my birthday...being the one time of the year I can get the Veggie Eater to a steak house.

BP said...

My birthday's coming up and I too usually go steakhouse. What do ya'll think - Fleming's (which I think has the best steak in town), the Palm (which is a better overall expereince), or Ruth's Chris (which is somewhere in between)?

Eric and Katie said...

I've enjoyed all three...but Flemings probably has the best food. Ruth's Chris is also really good. Hey, how about Jimmy Kelly's? I've never been the steaks match up to these other three?

BP said...

I don't think Jimmy Kelly's steaks are on par with the big chain steakhouses, but they make up for it with ambiance...and with those corncakes.

Jeni said...

Thanks to your awesome site (which is now my favorite place on the web) I went here for lunch today. I've driven past it numerous times but never stopped to actually eat. Oh my goodness! I had the pork chile verde and it was so insanely good. The pork just melted in your mouth & the chile verde had just the right amount of heat. It was well worth the 20 minute wait while they made it fresh. Thanks for introducing me to this great spot!

Eric and Katie said...

Thanks's good to hear they are still putting out quality food. It's been a while and we'll have to get back soon.