Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Los Arcos

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Los Arcos
3798 Nolensville Road
Nashville
615-837-3800

Have you ever had one of those days when you probably just ordered the wrong thing for lunch? That’s how I felt leaving Los Arcos. There was enough really good about the restaurant to convince me that I just hit a dud menu item.

Los Arcos has one of the nicer interiors for a Nashville Mexican joint. The tile floors, pleasant arches, fountain and bar stocked with a wide variety of tequilas speak to an ownership that cares about appearances. They also seem to care about quality. The salsa had a nice, fresh zing. The homemade guacamole was made with ripe avocados. They even kept replacing the hot chips, with more hot chips, in fact before we were even half done with the basket. They really believe in hot chips.

I know I should have ordered seafood. Seafood is a major theme at Los Arcos, right down to the heavy nautical theme chairs. They do have a large seafood menu with ceviches and plenty of shrimp choices. Other folks have said quite positive things about the seafood. I just didn’t feel like seafood. Ah well, next time.

I ordered the burrito especial. It came drenched in a flood of red enchilada sauce which left the burrito kinda soggy. The beef inside wasn’t much to write home about either. I ordered tacos to get a sampling and thankfully looked closely at the menu. Some items at Los Arcos are the Americanized version, like the crunchy corn shell tacos. If you look closer you might see another version, more in traditional Mexican mode. I ordered Al Pastor and Carnitas. The Al Pastor was quite good. You squeeze a bit of lime and put a little fresh avocado on top. It’s taqueria food in nicer surroundings. The carnitas was a bit dry, but both versions were better than the average fare, although not as good as at many taquerias in town.

Veggie Eater: So perhaps you’ve noticed a theme…it feels like we are forever on a quest for great, down home Mexican food. When we lived in Milwaukee, the place that fit the bill was El Pavo Real. Its name conjures up for us phenomenal food (including mole), great prices and a wonderful atmosphere. There was no mariachi music there, and barely any English spoken by wait staff or customers. With the stick set so high, it’s not hard to imagine that everything else has fallen a bit short since that time. In any case, our quest continued at Los Arcos. Still not El Pavo Real, but at least a good meal. What I really enjoyed were the sides and sauces; they all had subtle flavors. The guac was fresh. The salsa for the chips had lots of cilantro and just a hint of heat after the fact. They served some sort of fresh hot sauce with the meal; it had a slightly oily texture and was a bit hotter than the salsa. The rice had a decidedly smoked flavor and incorporated both corn and peas. The main items were not that interesting, but as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I don’t order interesting things. Part of it is comfort; part of it is limited options when you are a vegetarian. In any case the cheese enchilada was ok. The relleno was large, generously stuffed with cheese and appeared to have been freshly battered and fried. I had more than enough food for lunch the next day. Will I rush down there for another meal? Probably not. Did it satisfy me at the time? Absolutely.

Meat Eater: Service was top-notch and the manager came out to check on us, and other diners, personally. It would be fun to hit the bar on a Friday night for some tequila sampling before dinner. Our total was $33 with tax and tip.
Los Arcos on Urbanspoon

18 comments:

Jay said...

Was this formerly a seafood restaurant? (I forget the name)

Anonymous said...

yes, it was previously the location of florida seafood kitchen. that eatery moved to donelson over a year ago, but just closed its doors on that location in the past few weeks.

Eric and Katie said...

They've done a pretty good job redecorating, but it seems like they kept some things behind. Were those big, huge wood chairs part of the florida seafood kitchen decor?

Kitikata-san said...

I went to the FSK once (not good, and never went back), and I vaguely remember picnic tables (slated tables) and I don't remember the chairs. They might have been big. Anyway, keep me posted if you find a place with real mole.

Eric and Katie said...

Kitikata-san: this is officially the first cat comment we've had here at Nashville restaurants! Please let your owner know that Sol in Franklin is quite good and while the mole isn't of the intensity she probably had in Mexico, it's still very good. We had a very nice lunch there recently.

Anonymous said...

I had probably some of the best chicken enchiladas at this place. Atmosphere was cool, service was great and the food was nice and spicy. Very nice

Stace said...

My husband and I tried Los Arcos for the first time last night and were pleasantly surprised by the unique menu and the decor. The manager (owner?) "Pony" greeted us and took our drink orders...and we waited for about 20 minutes until someone came back to take our order. Way too long! I'm hoping the delay in service was just a growing pain since they're a relatively new establishment. Despite the poor service, we plan on returning and we hope Los Arcos sticks around to become a great neighborhood restaurant. Love the blog guys!

Anonymous said...

RIQUISIMO!!!!!!!AYER MI ESPOSO Y UNAS AMISTADES VISITAMOS LOS ARCOS ,LA VERDAD NOS ENCANTO LAS MECERAS SUPER ATENTAS,LA COMIDA Y PRESENTACION DEL MOLCAJETE ME ENCANTO.........ME SENTI EN CASA VIVA GUADALAJARA!!! ...........ES UN ORGULLO SABER Q TENEMOS UN RESTAURANTE Q REPRESENTE EN TN,DEFINITIVAMENTE Q HACIENDA NI Q NADA ESTE ES MI NUEVO " SPOT " GRACIAS TONY POR SER TAN GENTIL.P.D. AVISEN CUANDO LLEGUE EL MARIACHI.

Anonymous said...

well before it was the FSK it was a barbecue place and maybe something else even before that. Seems to be a tough location for survival.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ...Florida Seafood Kitchen was at that location from 1985 until 2006 (Feb?). 11 years is a pretty good run. They have since closed but that might be due to the move that was made to Donelson.

Anonymous said...

Florida Seafood Kitchen was at that location from 1985 until 2006 (Feb?). 11 years is a pretty good run. They have since closed but maybe that was due to the move to Donelson.

Anonymous said...

Los Arcos had a promising start but food and service have deteriorated in quality in the weeks since the place opened. Service was always indifferent; on our last visit it was almost non-existent. And the food is overpriced and bland (the fish and shrimp are FROZEN). We won't be going back. We have had decent meals at El Mariachi on Thompson Lane. But the latter is not really a great place to eat.

Anonymous said...

Los Arcos is an awful place to eat. It is just an overly decorated restaurant. This was our second visit and we received poor service. We received different food from what we had ordered. Their "horchata" tasted like water, flour and rocks, it was just nasty. The waitress was a snob and couldn't get our order right. Our dishes were incomplete, from what the menu said. They even gave us flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. Their restroom was just filthy dirty and one of the employees left the restroom without washing his hands and went straight to refill drinks. I am completely disgusted with this restaurant!

ashley said...

I am VERY disappointed in this restaurant. My fiancé and I went to lunch at this place just last sat. The server was a woman. She was very rude and lazy. When we got there, we sat down to get our meal and she asked what we wanted to drink, she couldn't speak English so I just got water. When she brought us the drinks, she took our order. We didn't se her again from that point on. She got my order wrong, because she doesn't know English even though the menu is in Spanish. I asked for a Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla with Rice and Beans and sour cream. I was brought, a Enchilada, with stale rice and overcooked beans with no sour cream. I told the guy that brought the food that it was wrong and proceeded to tell him what I ordered. He left and went into the kitchen. It took 20 mins for him to bring back the Quesadilla and the whole time the woman that was supposed to be our server was sitting and watching the TV and blatantly flirting with the guy that brought is the food. When I finally got my meal, it was cold. We never got refills and she never gave us the bill. We waited another 5 minutes for her to realize that we were done. She didn't come so we walked up there. Because the service was so horrible by her, I didn't think that a tip would be necessary. When we left she decided to give herself a $5 tip without my consent. I will not EVER go back to this restraint even if it is the last one standing. I am not one to complain about my service to publicly but it is needed for this occasion. THINK TWICE BEFORE GOING TO LOS ARCOS UNLESS YOU WANT BAD SERVICE AND TO BE RIPPED OFF!!!

Craig said...

Used to be good, but not any more. My dinner didn't show up till my wife was almost done eating, then the order was wrong - instead of a mixed grill, got some kind of fish in a foil envelope which leaked all over the table and the floor. Waitress came over after awhile, threw a bar towel on the floor, and swished it around with her foot - I ended up having to go to the bathroom, get paper towels, and clean it up myself. Manager acted like he was doing us a big favor by not charging us for a dinner we didn't get. Bottom line: disorganized, unhelpful, bad attitude, the one meal we did get was nothing special, not going back.

Anonymous said...

My first visit at Los arcos was like 3 mo ago I was very impressed by the beautifull interior but I wasent to happy with the food and service that time , last night me and my friends stoped by for the margarita special and I noticed a big difference in the food and service the atmosphere was great and everybody working seemed to know what they were doing, the manager kept checking on us , I'm glad I gave Los arcos another try my friends and I are looking forward to getting together in they're patio this summer and try the bar specials, congratulations to the staff at Los arcos , they seem to have really improved.

joann said...

The first time i went their it was a manager named martin i think and everything was slow and not good ,But i went back a few months later and a new owner was their named Jose Gutierrez and he had made very nice changes to the place it was very nice in their and i loved the service and the people was great. I will keep going..GREAT PLACE

Sherri said...

went a week ago - chips were extraordinary - excellent salsa and cheese dip and great refried beans- fajitas for 2 could feed 6 easily - steak a little tough but over all ok - loved the chips so much drove over today from E Nashville to pick up chips/dip/beans to go - chips are terrible not the same chips from last week- I believe store bought- beans have a burnt taste- salsa different too - not as flavorful- may try them one more time if I am in the area but won't make a special trip again.