Portland >Chez Jose Mexican Cafe
Lime Chicken Encheladas and Carne Asada are awesome. When the kids aren't with us-- the margaritas are just perfect. One of the most kid-friendly tex/mex joints in town and I don't feel greasy after a plate of food there. Parking can be a pain during rush times.
Terrible bland food.. I had dinner with my family last night at Chez Jose Terwilliger. The food was bland, the place was deafeningly noise, and overpriced (considering its quality). I think the salsa actually has tomato soup in it. The chips are like cardboard. And the pork tacos special could have been any ingredient, as the pork flavor was not there. I'm not sure why this place is popular. Very disappointing.
Unpleasant. My wife and I had a very disappointing experience here. Upon arriving we were seated promptly by a nice young man. That was the only good part of the dining experience. After that we were approached within 15-20 seconds by a pushy and somewhat boorish server. There was no time to remove our coats let alone look at the drink menu before we were put on the spot to order. My wife's food was mediocre at best. I was served the wrong dish. The waiter never came to check on us and I'm not one to waste food anyway, so I attempted to eat it. It was gross, comparable to dog food. I'll never go back. The service and food are terrible.
Had a great time here. I love Mexican food (and Mexican people for that matter) but it doesn't settle with me too well. Especially the SALT!! Most places put so much salt in the food that a couple hours later I feel like a blimp.
Their food here is healthy and delightful. Only ate lunch here a couple of times, can't comment on the evening crowd.
The only thing lacking here is that the staff could work a little harder to make you feel welcome. The attitude is odd, almost like they are put out when they are sitting you down or taking your order.
I thought this was just my imagination, but friends have told me the same thing.
No huge deal, but with an economy going down the tubes fast, you can't afford to lose customers because they don't feel welcome.
Just an observation.
Best Mexican Restaurant in Portland.
Chez Jose is a fantastic Mexican restaurant-- it offers a diverse menu of unique dishes you won't find at other, more generic Mexican places. They have a wonderful spicy peanut sauce they put into some of their dishes, such as the butternut squash enchilada, which is a perfect mix of spicy, aromatic, and slightly sweet. Their chips and salsa are also amazing-- chips always warm and fresh, and the salsa a little hot-- not bland like many other Mexican restaurants. I go to Chez Jose often, but try to go on off hours after the crowd dissipates a little. It's Saturday night and I actually just ordered takeout, which I'm about to pick up! They pack a bag of chips and salsa with takeout orders, which some places won't do. Nice!
I appreciate that they have some good microbrews too-- something you don't often find at Mexican restaurants. However, their margaritas, though delicious, are very weak-- don't expect to get buzzed! You're better off with a beer.
It's also great that they serve free-range pork and beef-- I would love it if they added free-range chicken but I applaud their current efforts.
Overall, fantastic place-- I mean, I put "crowded and noisy" as a con, but they're only crowded because they're so good!
Poor management. I was at this establishment with the party of 11 ladies and have to say that the waitstaff and manager were just crude and put off by us from the moment we walked in. Now, I came ahead of most of the ladies with three other gals and we were aware that if we sat at the counter, that we would have to move if someone wanted to eat but we were told in a curt manner like we were unwelcome. We just wanted to order a couple of drinks while we waited and then sit at the table to eat. We agreed we would move if someone wanted to eat. No big deal. We weren't rude, we understood that they are just there to work and take care of business but they were just foul about it. No apologies and smiles or anything, just lame service. I too, have worked in the restaurant industry and understand that they don't make the rules, they just follow them but HELLO, it wouldn't have hurt you to smile. We are all hard working moms and deal with small children who have to be reminded of their manners, I should be able to expect better manners from adults, especially in the customer service industry. Well, when one of the gals disagreed with their choice to have us leave since we were spending money, she inquired about it with a manager and he proceeded to get hot headed about it and turn a not so great situation to disasterous. If I were the owner, I would seriously rethink about the impression I want the public to have of my restaurant. Instead of a great little simplistic restaurant, it was more like a fast service joke with people who were in bad need of manners training and reminder that they are WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC. In counting, there were 11 of us and we have already each told at least three people what a terrible place this was and told the business that referred us to never to refer anyone to them again. Good job management. Didn't realize in this economy that you were doing so well that you could turn 11 paying customers away.
I would like to tell you about our trip to this restaurant. This is really hard for me since I was a waitress and I know the restaurant business very well. But in all my years as a waitress and as a customer, I was appalled by the lack of humane treatment, let alone professionalism by the staff at Chez Jose Restaurant. The language that the manager used was by far the worst treatment I have ever experienced as a customer. All we wanted was to eat and have a nice time. To have a manager cuss you out for ordering a drink and sitting at the bar area (which I now know really was an eating bar) shows very poor customer service. At no point did any staff tell us it was an eating bar until they told us to move since they had paying customers. We were paying customers. There were 11 people in our group, and the meanness of the staff convinced us to leave after waiting 55 minutes for a table. We said that we could be broken up at different tables if it made seating us easier. It’s too bad I can’t tell you about the food. But with how many families with kids were there hearing the manger with that language, I’m sure we’re not the only ones who will never go back.
Good food, excellent margaritas. We first went to Chez Jose simply because it was close. I was first impressed by the speed of their service. My husband works nearby and has a one hour lunch break, and we've gone there several times on his lunch break without him feeling hurried or late. They are just great at getting us in, getting a table, and getting our food out quickly. The salsa is always warm, and you get 2 different kinds, which is nice. I highly recommend the honey chipotle shrimp! Delicious, as is the veggie quesadilla that comes with it! I also very much enjoyed the lime chicken entrees. It is especially nice that they have all their options a la carte, for those of us who don't eat as much, it's nice to have the option to get a smaller meal. We just tried their margaritas, which were excellent. The mango one was full of real fruit! Their flan is the dessert we get every time. It is extra cinnamon-y and perfectly firm. Soooo good! The only drawbacks are that it can be a little more expensive than your average Mexican place, but it makes up for it in unique offerings and good flavor. Also, it is always quite loud in there, not sure if it's just the acoustics or what, but I wouldn't take someone there to have a long drawn-out dinner discussion.
Lame food + lame service = never again.
We live just blocks away so we thought it was time to give Chez Jose a try.
- Convenient location
- Prawn appetizer was decent - but $5.50 for 4 prawns on a stick!? Crazy!
- Free chips (I can barely call this a pro since it's pretty standard in most Mexican restaurants, but the chips were warm.....??? semi-pro?)
- Loud loud loud! On top of all the hard surfaces amplifying normal conversation, there were screaming children and the servers were constantly bashing around plates and bins right next to our table.
- The menu was tiny with very few options. My boyfriend wanted chicken in mole sauce, and while they had a tamale with mole sauce, they could not put the chicken on the menu with the mole sauce. Our beans and rice were crusty on top like they had been under a heat lamp for hours. My fish taco was fine, but nothing to write home about. Taco Del Mar has better.
- Our server was fine at first, but got worse and worse as the evening progressed. When we were ready for our check we had to wait nearly HALF AN HOUR to receive our bill. We weren't eating, our silverware was in the 'please, clear my plate' position and we constantly tried to get our server's attention as he walked past us again and again. When he finally did give us our bill he didn't even apologize or mention that it had been a long time. I know that during really long fine dining experiences the billing part of the evening can take a while - but this evening it took about 30 minutes total to order, get our food (that was fast!) and eat, and then an additional 30 minutes for the bill. sheesh!
- Price. We spent just shy of 40 dollars on sodas, an appetizer and two dinners. It's just too expensive for such poor ambiance, service and food.
Never again. I'd rather get something to go from Market of Choice.
Can't believe Chez Jose ripped me a big one. I have been going to Chez Jose for a bunch of years - before the big fire even and never left feeling ripped off. Well tonight it happened. I ordered one fish and one shrinp taco. They brought me the combo platter, which they get $13.50or so for IF someone gets a burrito or taco or enchilada that's the total price. Well get this, they charged me an extra 1.50 for each taco. Tiny taco, mind you. Grand total was like 14.95 plus 1.50. That's freeking ridiculous. Check this out, my wife order a Pico de Gallo....little crappy tiny paper thing (the size you give away samples in)...they charge 1.25. DO I feel used? Yes. DO I feel I got my money's worth? No After bunches of years, I'm through with this joint. Taking advantage of customers and gouging them. Freeking food is just not that good anymore. They must be resting on their laurels and collecting the dough. I'll not be back...Jose! And I was a good customer. Want to add though, the service is always good. I just got ripped on the food.
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