11 February, 2010
El Rodeo — South Square (Durham)Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
Apologies for the lack of pictures. Those I had taken for the next few blogs were casualties of the great Hard Drive Failure of February 2010. This is especially sad in the case of this review, as that plate of camarones de chipotle looked quite yummy.
4215 University Drive 3404 Westgate Drive
South Square, Durham
El Rodeo is a two three-restaurant chain in Durham; their other restaurants are in Brightleaf Square and on North Duke Street. This one is located in what I can only assume used to be a national chain restaurant, as evidenced by the booths’ upholstery-an atrocious, sports-themed pattern. The rest of the large space is decorated with the sombreros that denote a Mexican American restaurant, salmon and sea green walls, and interesting carved wood art pieces.
Their menu is huge and it’s worth noting that the lunch portions of their entrees are plenty large and include rice and beans, though still come in a few bucks cheaper than dinner. Chips and salsa roja come with every meal. The salsa had a good kick, a welcome change from most salsa rojas I’ve tasted (¡viva la pico de gallo!). I would wager that the chips are not made in-house as they were not especially fresh or warm, but really, they were fine. Fresh is nice but not necessary.
I decided to have an agua de Jamaica for my beverage, which is essentially cold hibiscus tea. The floral flavor seemed too strong at first sip, but by the time I’d drank half of it, it was too weak and more closely resembled Crystal Light, that thin punch you get at church potlucks. Anybody tried their horchata?
I had the camarones de chipotle for my entrée and I was very happy with it. First of all, any place that throws half an avocado on my plate wins bonus points automatically. The rice was the tastiest spanish rice I’ve had out in a while, and the chipotle sauce was perfect with the shrimp. Sure, it was greasy but that just made it extra satisfying for the mood I was in. There was a lot of char and spice in the sauce. The three flour tortillas were served warm and again, I doubt were made in-house but still did the job just fine.
All in all, El Rodeo offered decent Mexican American food at a great price.