Set in the suburban town of Plainville, Connecticut on its quaint Main St. is El Paso restaurant. “El Paso” in Spanish means “step”. A common expression used in Mexico is “paso a paso” which translates in English to mean “step by step”. “El Paso” also translates from Spanish to English to mean a crossing place or a passing. El Paso, Texas is a city in the United States that borders the country of Mexico. Hence, “El Paso”, meaning crossing the US/Mexico border.
Although my son and I are far from El Paso geographically, we stepped into the restaurant and immediately felt our own little piece of Mexico right here in Plainville.
El Paso’s décor is tastefully presented and captures Mexican beauty in its own way.
The décor is tastefully presented and captures Mexican beauty in its own way. The entire restaurant is in comparison to the size of a three car parking garage if I had to guess but packed with so much color and detail. It’s simply beautiful but has that homey small feel to it as well.
From the ceiling hung brightly colored cutouts of birds, flowers, and suns. It reminded me of snowflakes crafty people make out of white paper at Christmastime. All the walls were painted a welcoming turquoise color, perfect for capturing your attention.
On one wall was a sombrero (a large straw hat typically worn in Mexico) with streams of green, white, and red exploding out of each side. The colors represent the Mexican flag. On another wall were many paintings of people showcasing Mexican culture. There was a painting of a woman holding a flower pot above her head, and a man playing the drums. A gorgeous painting of a yellow three-story structure stood between them. It had some golden bells just below the cross that was situated at the top, and a large welcoming door in the middle. It reminded me of a church.
In the front of the restaurant was a garden with green, long stemmed, healthy plants outfitted with its very own mariachi (a Mexican musician dressed in native costume) statue. My son got a kick out of this thoughtful and creative display, as did I. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a young teenage girl who was dressed down with no name tag or uniform to identify herself. She was sitting at a table talking with an older gentleman.
If she hadn’t asked us whether we were there to dine in or take out, I wouldn’t have known she worked there. She let us know we could sit anywhere, so we chose a table by the garden with the mariachi statue. A few moments after we were seated, Spanish music started to play from the speakers above and an appropriately dressed waitress came out to take our beverage order. We ordered a diet coke and a sprite while perusing the menu.
There was a lot of typical Mexican fare on the menu including enchiladas, burritos, nachos, tacos, etc. Our waitress came back with our drinks; a sprite and a coke presented to us in those old fashioned style glass bottles. She also brought us glasses of water and to our surprise a basket of tortilla chips and a good sized red bowl filled with salsa.
Although I did order a diet coke, not a regular coke, I didn’t want to cause any headache by having her exchange it. (insert dramatic music here) We enjoyed the soda in the glass bottles as it was a unique experience. Most restaurants bring us fountain style drinks from watered down soda machines.
We placed our lunch order and waited patiently for our meal while enjoying the sounds of Spanish music and chowing down on the complimentary chips and salsa. The salsa had robust flavor and the spice was not overpowering. The chips tasted fresh and homemade, not store-bought which was great. The restaurant was empty upon our arrival, but we were now sharing the three car garage space with an elderly couple who I noticed were thoroughly enjoying their martinis. Due to the lack of patrons, our lunch was ready in a very timely fashion.
Our meal was served piping hot on a white ceramic plate and consisted of a cheese quesadilla, accompanied by a side of rice and beans. The plate was also garnished with individual servings of guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. It all looked delicious, we could hardly wait to dig in!
First we tried the Spanish rice. Orange in color, fluffy in texture, and it surely did not lack in taste! The rice was just as flavorful as the restaurant was colorful. Next up was the refried beans. The cheese was melted on top making them look so appealing to our taste buds. Sadly, that first bite was the last bite. I assume the chef was very heavy handed with the salt.
My son agreed, referring to the beans being the same taste as swallowing a salt shaker. Lastly, onto the quesadilla! Crispy on the outside, perfect texture in the middle, and the chef must have the amount of cheese to add to it down to a science! The quesadilla itself was reason enough to eat at this establishment again. I then dipped my quesadilla in the guacamole and took a bite. I swear I was so close to heaven after that bite, I could hear angels sing.
Hands down, the BEST guacamole I have ever tasted! I could taste the lime, avocado, and cilantro all mixed together in a single bite. We finished eating and tracked down the waitress to pay our bill. My lunch total came to about 14$ which isn’t bad in my opinion for an authentic Mexican meal.
It would’ve been a few dollars less if I sent back that wrongly delivered coke and just drank the complimentary water. Still, it was a great experience, and it’s definitely a family friendly restaurant. I recommend it to anyone looking for a tasty Spanish meal, yes, even with the salty beans. We will definitely return to try other things on the menu little by little, bite by bite, paso a paso. https://www.elpasorestaurantct.com
|EL PASO MEXICAN RESTAURANT|
|6 E Main St, Plainville, CT|
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