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Enchilada

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S 4, 17 – 22 68161 Mannheim

Mexican cuisine has a poor reputation in Germany.  You won’t find any popular Mexican style fast food joints.   There aren’t any Taco Bells (except on selected army bases), Del Tacos, or Chipotle Mexican Grills.  Surprisingly, though, there is one franchise chain of Mexican restaurants, located throughout Germany, called Enchilada.  Considering that it has 25 locations in several major German cities, the food there has to be great, right?

Enchilada’s dining area has sort of an old, pueblo style / southwestern type of architecture that fits the Mexican theme.  With wooden tables and chairs, the seating isn’t overly spectacular.  The overall mood here is casual and relaxed, suitable for such an establishment.  A few plants add color and life to the place.  There are a few Aztec style objects decorating the spacious room.  Plenty of seating is available inside.  Beats from Spanish canciones play throughout the dining area and brings that rhythmic excitement.

 

As Enchilada is not only a restaurant, but also a bar, there are a good number of drinks to be found.  A separate drinks menu features an extraordinary list of cocktails and beverages.  A variety of margaritas, coladas, caipi drinks, rum drinks, tequilas, vodkas, and jumbos can all be found.  Popular here is the special Happy Hour every evening from 6 to 8 PM when all cocktails are half off.   Unique beers can also be ordered, including Mexico’s top selling beer – Corona.  There is also a homemade beer as well as a Spanish imported beer, aside from the usual Pils.

The menu is quintessential Tex-Mex.  On the list of appetizers are chips and dip, nachos, potato skins, breads, and taquitos.  There are chimichangas, chili con carne, steaks, Buffalo wings, baked potatoes, and fajitas.  Naturally, enchiladas are listed.  Quesadillas, tacos, and burritos are also featured.  After all, what’s a Mexican restaurant without tacos and burritos?

 

The variety of fajitas is rather striking.  You can order fajitas with prawns, beef strips, strips of chicken breast, turkey, or even lamb medallions.  Additionally, there is a vegetarian fajita featuring seasonal vegetables.  Each grilled specialty comes with a stack of 5 flour tortillas and a condiment platter consisting of coleslaw, shredded cheese, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole in small containers, and diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and green lettuce.

The Fajita Parilla includes strips of South American beef in a medley of green, yellow, and red bell peppers and onions.  Served sizzling on a thin cast iron skillet pan, it is sure to turn heads from other curious diners.  The fajitas have excellent flavor and aroma; they’re well seasoned, the peppers are sweet and crunchy, and the beef is juicy and tender and isn’t chewy.  The only negative is the abysmal portion size.  The star of the meal fails to make its presence known.

 

Tortillas, made from wheat flour, are served in a beautiful woven basket with lid, kept warm by a small heated plate turned upside down at the bottom of the basket.  Though not made fresh in the kitchens, the tortillas are soft and have great flavor.

Condiments accompanying the fajitas and tortillas are a huge letdown.  With its large array of colors, the platter certainly looks appealing.  It screams Mexico’s colors (red, white, and green – salsa, sour cream, and guacamole).

 

But aside from the tomatoes and cucumbers, the items on the plate appear far from fresh.  The green leaf lettuce is extremely dry and simply looks old.  The white shredded cheese is beginning to melt – a clear sign of improper storage.  Health inspector, anyone?  The coleslaw has way too much mayonnaise and is overly creamy.  It tastes more like German kraut than summertime slaw.  Simply adding carrots to the cabbage doesn’t qualify it as coleslaw.  Jalapeños are also dry and obviously come from a can.  The guacamole has seen better days – it was probably made at corporate kitchen headquarters and transported days ago.  Moreover, there aren’t any chunks of avocado inside; it’s only a smooth, pale green dip.  The sour cream is served in the same container as the salsa, making it runny.  The salsa, though, has a decent amount of heat.  Taken as a whole, the condiment platter is a disgrace to Mexican cuisine.

By the way, what kind of Mexican restaurant serves coleslaw with fajitas?  Rice and beans can be ordered separately, but with the steep price of the fajita plate – 14,70 € – you would have expected these classic Mexican staples to be served with the grilled meat.  The condiment platter, as is, invites diners to build their own mini burrito.  However, the miserable amount of meat makes it extremely difficult to fully enjoy the meal.  With the cheese melting a bit, though, it does make for a good quesadilla!

 

Desserts warrant applause.  Despite only offering 3 postres on the menu – churros, a sweet chimichanga with ice cream, and flautas plátanos – they are executed quite well.  The Flautas Plátano consists of a wheat flour tortilla, wrapped around a sweet banana, and lightly baked until crisp.  Served with delicate whipped cream, a scoop of smooth Mövenpick vanilla ice cream, a fruity strawberry ragout, topped with powdered sugar, and drizzled with chocolate sauce, the dish looks marvelous.  The tortilla tastes like a shortbread crust for pie; the heavenly combination of bananas and strawberries makes it even more dazzling.  This dessert is not only creative and luscious, but also makes you forget about the lackluster main dish.  At 4,30 €, it is also reasonably priced.

Enchilada deserves credit for becoming a reasonably successful franchise throughout Germany.  With its daily Happy Hour specials, a cozy and spacious dining room, and commendable service, Enchilada is a great place to go with friends and enjoy cocktails.  But, at the same time, the restaurant tries too hard to be truly Mexican.  Enchilada already has the blueprints for a thriving establishment – the menu is exciting, the drinks plenty, and the atmosphere admirable.  Only the food needs significant improvement.  Once Enchilada brings in a seasoned chef to change up the cooking techniques and freshen up the ingredients, it will continue serving up sub par Mexican cuisine to mostly unseasoned diners.

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Summary:

With more than 20 restaurants located all over Germany, Enchilada is a successful franchise chain of Mexican themed restaurants.  Although not truly authentic Mexican cuisine, Enchilada makes a reasonable attempt at cooking up Tex-Mex dishes that will adequately satiate your hungry for tacos, burritos, and fajitas.  Overall prices moderate.  Specials: Happy Hour every evening from 6 to 8 PM – all cocktails at half price.  Special Enchilada Hour beginning at 11 PM – all margaritas and jumbos at half price.

Hours: Daily: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM

 

Overall – 3.5 stars

  • Fajitas Parilla – 3/5
    • Beef Fajitas with Onions & Bell Peppers – 4/5
    • Flour Tortillas – 4/5
    • Side Platter – 1/5
  • Flautas Plátano – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.enchilada.de/

Written by geschmack

June 8th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Mannheim

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