Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Restaurant review: No spice, no glory at Colorado Springs Mexican mainstay

May 23, 2018 Updated: May 25, 2018 at 11:36 am
0
Caption +
Senor Manuel Mexican Cuisine (4660 N. Nevada Ave) "Fish Tacos" - 2 soft shell corn tortilla tacos topped with lettuce, tomato and pico de gallo served with rice and beans Thursday May 17, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.

Enchiladas and tacos and beans, oh my.

At Señor Manuel's, they're nothing to fear, but neither are they the best renditions of standard Mexican cuisine - notwithstanding the restaurant's nearly 50-year presence in Colorado Springs. Perhaps it's the longevity that keeps the place hopping. A steady flow of families, couples and groups kept the staff busy the night of our visit. Several diners were on a first-name basis with many of the servers. Even though the service was very good, our sampling of menu items gave us no reason to establish relationships.

Senor Manuel Mexican Cuisine "Flautas" (4660 N. Nevada Ave) Thursday May 17, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.  

The friendly hostess, our attentive server and well-made house margaritas bode well for the meal. So we thought. Then came the complimentary chips and salsa. The latter was the consistency of tomato sauce with barely a trace of piquancy. The chips were dry with a flavor we had difficulty identifying until it was suggested they were overcooked. Chips, even ones that aren't altogether satisfactory, are difficult to ignore, which is why we went through nearly three bowls while waiting for our food.

Nothing we ordered was out of the ordinary, so the delay was baffling. Our server kept water glasses filled and replenished the chips, but offered no explanation for the long wait between placing our order and having it arrive steaming hot. Despite being anxious to dig in, we had to let the food cool a bit before taking first bites.

The menu identifies the chili relleno as "award winning." This made it a must-have for me. The hostess boasted about the cheese enchiladas, so the combination $12.95 of the two was a no-brainer. The problem was the amount of cheese on the plate. Each forkful included thin, gooey strings of melted cheddar that later, once cooled, became globs. Less cheese would have been better. The roasted green chili, the highlight of the relleno, was swathed in a thick, bland, spongey egg batter topped with a tomato sauce suggestive of marinara, making it seem more Italian than Mexican. The rice and beans, also obscured with melted cheese, did little to enhance the entrée.

Senor Manuel Mexican Cuisine (4660 N. Nevada Ave) "Beef Chimichanga" Thursday May 17, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.  

Several taco options are available, ranging from hard shell to pan fried. We opted for the fish specialty tacos ($8.45, plus $3.50 for rice and beans). Pieces of white fish coated with a thick breading reminded us of fish sticks from childhood days. The two soft-shell tacos bulged with the fish, lettuce and diced tomatoes. Pico de gallo, served on the side, helped hide the fishy flavor, and the tartar sauce went untouched. This is a Mexican restaurant, after all.

Shredded beef in the chimichanga ($10.95, plus $3.50 for rice and beans) was flavorful, but the fried flour tortilla quickly lost its hard-shell texture, making it more like the original burrito it once was. The chili verde, described as pork green chili, contained no pieces of pork and lacked spiciness. Chopped lettuce and chopped tomato took up a large part of the plate. The dollop of guacamole was barely detectable.

Senor Manuel Mexican Cuisine (4660 N. Nevada Ave) "Fish Tacos" - 2 soft shell corn tortilla tacos topped with lettuce, tomato and pico de gallo served with rice and beans Thursday May 17, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney.  

The chicken flautas ($14.45, including rice and beans) were, perhaps, the most successful entrée. These simple, fried, rolled corn tortillas were crispy and filled with plenty of shredded chicken. They weren't hidden beneath cheese and shredded lettuce, although plenty was on the plate.

The portions are generous, and we could have filled several to-go boxes but chose not to. It's disappointing when service overshadows the food. Señor Manuel's clearly has a following; it just doesn't include me.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.