Monday, May 2, 2011

El Jinete - Red Bank

We have been to El Jinete on Red Bank twice now.  Before our first visit, neither of us thought it could be better than El Rio Grande in Newport.  We ate at Rio all too often during law school and came to appreciate the quality of food coupled with reasonable prices. 

As skeptical as we were entering El Jinete the first time, we left impressed.  However, we weren't ready to sing its praises until after a second consistently delicious visit.  Let's start with the chips and salsa.  The chips are good - nothing special but good.  The salsa is definitely made in house - it's a light red color and has fresh cilantro throughout.  On our second visit, we tried the guacamole.  I have to admit I'm skeptical of guacamole at tex-mex establishments like these.  If it isn't bright green, I assume it isn't good.  Kelly wanted to try it though and I was proven wrong.  The guacamole is rich and flavorful - very heavy on the garlic (never a bad thing). 

We also tried their margaritas.  I had a frozen strawberry margarita and Kelly had a regular margarita on the rocks.  First of all, the small size is huge!  They need an extra small.  The frozen margarita was great but since it was so big I was on sugar overload half way through.  Kelly said his was good too.  Nothing like Nada or Havana Rumba in Louisville but good - not too sweet.

Now to our meals.  On our first visit, we tried a chicken fajita quesadilla (with sauteed peppers and onions) and the tacos pastor. The quesadilla was great with fajita ingredients.  I would definitely recommend it if you want something safe.  The tacos pastor are the most discussed tacos on the menu.  Kelly said they were good but I think he had built them up in his mind because (a) it was pork and (b) everyone has been writing about them.  It was sauce overload -  the meat had been marinated in it and it was also served as a topping for the taco itself.    Kelly can't describe the flavor so basically we aren't much help here.

On our second trip, we tried the enchiladas yolandas (chicken enchiladas with poblano sauce) and the burrito "el barzon."  The corn tortillas in the enchiladas were so delicious I can't even tell you.  The flavor of the tortilla really stood out.  The enchiladas had just the right amount of cheese as well - not too heavy.  The rice was also very fluffy and light.  We will definitely order these again.  Now for the burrito.  Kelly has this thing where he asks servers to surprise him.  It's really frustrating because it always seems to work out - while I spend forever weighing my options.  Kelly would warn you not to ask just anyone to do this.  Once he meets a server, he determines whether or not they know what's up.  If he decides the server is knowledgeable, honest, and up for a challenge, he will request to be surprised (no matter how big the menu -  he has done this at Cheesecake Factory).  Once Kelly sized up the server at El Jinete, he asked to be surprised.  OF COURSE he ended up with the one dish he almost ordered.  The burrito "el barzon" is three pounds.  It includes a flour tortilla stuffed with sausage, shrimp, chicken and pineapple.  Then queso dip is poured all over the top.  I found the burrito a little overhwhelming and rich but Kelly took it down like a rock star. 

El Barzon

Both meals were under $30 and El Jinete is running ads in junk coupon mail.  We randomly found a $6 off a second meal coupon.  So check the coupons stuffed in your mailbox and go to El Jinete.  They even have outdoor seating.

El Jinete Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

KC said...

It gets better and better. This past weekend we had a pork dish and fish tacos. The pork was under $10 and cooked wonderfully. So tender! We were weary of the fish but it was also cooked perfectly. They use tilapia with some seasoning (not spicy). We can't get enough. Check your REACH magazine for a $6.00 off your second entree coupon. We eat under $20 each time!!