19 November, 2009
Los Portales, Southpoint (Durham) — Restaurant ReviewPosted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : becca
6905 Fayetteville Road
Los Portales is a new Mexican restaurant in the shopping center across Fayetteville from the Streets at Southpoint. It replaced Bakehouse Bistro, which could never get their service up to par with their tasty sandwiches. I asked my waiter if this Los Portales was related to the former taqueria of the same name and he said no, it was its own restaurant, but he didn’t seem to be familiar with the taqueria, so the jury’s still out on a connection. I never tried the old Los Portales, so I can’t compare.
This spot is kitschy galore, with wooden booths, tables, and chairs that have been carved with the standard Mexican sombrero-wearing men, cacti, and tropical birds in bright, primary colors. The bar resembles a beach hut with a straw overhang.
I’m totally cool with kitschy, so the place looked fun to me. The menu was large with lots of Mexican-American fare like combo plates, quesadillas, etc., and a few more traditional items. I found the salsa and chips fairly boring, but pico de gallo is my salsa variety of choice. This salsa was picante style, and resembled a thin tomato paste with a bite.
We both tried the house margaritas, which are available for $2.50 on Thursday nights. Made with Degollado Tequila, they were served in cactus glasses and had the neon coloring of margarita mix and the fake-tasting tartness that comes with it. For the price they were fine, but I wouldn’t have ordered a second one.
My meal choice was a chicken sincronizado, which was billed as a grilled tortilla sandwich, or as I call it when I make it at home, a quesadilla with stuff in it.
Between the tortillas were sauteed chicken chunks, jalapenos, onions, and cheese sauce. I loved the jalapeno at first, but it quickly overpowered all the other ingredients; there were a lot of jalapeno slices, and believe me, I can eat jalapeno after jalapeno but there were just too many in this dish. The chicken was fine but slightly cold and the avocado slices were a tad unripe but that’s never stopped me from eating avocado. By far, the rice was the best part of the meal. It was bland, but simple and puffy with little chunks of green chile.
My friend ordered an enchilada and quesadilla, which came with rice and beans.
She was not impressed with her food and reported that the enchilada was crispy and the refried beans were unappetizing. She wished sour cream had been part of the meal.
Overall, I found Los Portales to be an okay option for Mexican-American fare, though not enough to lure me from Bandidos when I’m craving that particular brand of Mexican food. I might go back to try the tacos, though, as they looked pretty traditional and appealing from the photo in the menu.