Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheko's Mexican Restaurant is fun and happy on the cheap

Don't worry if there isn't any parking in the front just drive around and park in the back.  That was our first experience at Cheko's Mexican Restaurant.  They sit next door to a lavandaria and share a little parking lot in front so it can get a little crowded in the lot but not in the restaurant.  We parked and walked through the little alleyway that takes you back to Cheko's.  No big deal, everything is well lit and with all the people around it just felt busy.  As we entered the restaurant there was a group of guys kicked back watching the game on TV, a group of girls getting a little silly on Tacate while they celebrated a birthday and a eclectic group of couples and singles enjoying their food and relaxing from a long day at work.  It was like walking into the living room of a happy home in a way.

We sat for a few minutes before the waitress came over but they were a bit busy so I didn't think much of it.  They sat a basket of chips and some salsa down, handed us the menus and asked for our drink order.  The menu is full of what I consider traditional Mexican dishes.  As I've said before I'm not an expert here since I'm partial to Tex-Mex but I do know good food so as I always say, take it for what it's worth.  The chips were nice and fresh and the salsa was chunky and had a little kick to it.  That was a nice way to start the meal.  Our drinks came a little later and we ordered.  One Tampiquena Beef Skirt Steak Dinner for me and the Huevos con Machacado for Steph.  We continued to snack on the chips, talk about our day, and laugh at the girls trying to get their waiter to play a Mexican version of the happy birthday song once again.  Apparently they were over their limit in juke box credits.  Which reminds me, they have a juke box at Cheko's.  I can't say for sure but I bet they sometimes push back the tables and do some dancing on a Saturday night.  When I was in my early twenties I had a gig cleaning up a dance hall / bingo hall.  They played bingo during the week and on the weekends a Mexican group would rent the space to have dances.  They'd bring in live bands and DJ's from all over. It was a pretty big deal from what I understand.  I'm not sure where I'm going with that aside from I had that same feeling of "people have fun here" while I was in Cheko's.  It has good vibes.

Our food came and we went to work on it.  The steak was like a big meat blanket covering the two cheese enchiladas, rice and beans under it.  It was one of those steaks pounded flat and fried in a pan.  Very flavorful and tender for skirt steak.  I poured a little extra salsa on it to kick up the flavor a bit.  The cheese enchiladas weren't all that big but they did have a good cheesy flavor.  I loved the refried beans.  They had an extra flavor in them that made them stand out from other places.  Maybe a little beef stock or chili powder.  I can't say but I finished them off and I don't usually do that. The rice was good too but not to the next level.  By the end my plate was cleaned and I considered licking up whatever was left but Steph would have kicked me in the shin.

Steph didn't enjoy her meal quite as much but to be fair she hadn't tried Machacado so it was her first time.  The plate came out with a big serving of eggs with dried beef mixed in like a scramble.  The beef tasted like I would expect it, kinda like beef jerky but chopped into little bits.  Steph had a whole different thought on what it would taste like.  She ate on it for a while but just never took to it.  I tried it and thought it was pretty good but I'll have to say I probably wouldn't order it.  I'm guessing it's one of those things people crave when they grow up on it.  Whatever the reason, I thought it was cooked well but just wasn't to our tastes.  That happens sometimes when you try new things.  At least Steph is trying new things so a tip of the hat to her.

The staff was friendly and helpful so we didn't haven't any incident to share.  I felt like they appreciated our business and wanted us to come back.  I'm sure we will.


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