Last update: June, 2013: Jalapeno's moved to the other side of US-377 to Fort Worth. And renamed it Las Pinatas. Review of new location here.
If you live around Keller, the name Jalapeno's can be a bit confusing. There's a taqueria by that name in the old town, with the exact same logo, and yet it's entirely different than this restaurant found on Keller Parkway. Apparently there's different ownership, but obviously they are related in some way. So if you too were confused, as the RJG perpetually is, then I do recommend you try both. We'll cover the taqueria at another time, but today's post will reflect the restaurant only. To the best of my knowledge, this is their only location and not related to other Jalapeno's in and around DFW.
Jalapeno's sits in the old Keller Pizza place (itself no doubt once a Pizza Inn). Upon entry, there's a cavernous space filled with booths and tables - and even an old fashioned 1980s styled video game area. I was pleased to see the frozen margarita machine cranking away to my left, so I ordered one. Only to be met with the now familiar "it's not frozen yet" response (it was around 11:30 for lunch). Ya know, I've been biting my tongue on this issue, but this is the third Mexican place in a relatively short time frame that each sprung this excuse. Turn the dang thing on once you get there! We also heard this excuse recently at El Paseo and Tres Jose's on our recent visits. Each time, I ended up settling on water. Anyway, I can honestly say we've never had this problem at Anamia's and we've been there at least 50 times. Alright, with that annoyance out of the way, let's focus on the food. And here, Jalapeno does a very good job - and a bit different, which we always appreciate here at the RJG. The entry level salsa is a chipotle blend. Quite good, but way too thin, and thus it tends to roll off the chips. We asked for the hotter option and we received the hottest (apparently the have a medium heat as well). This one was better textured, with a dark green color. Definitely a jalapeno based sauce, perhaps with some serrano's, and very spicy. So now our palette was set for the main course. The Mrs. went for cheese enchiladas with vegetables and covered with a tomatillo sauce. She says the cheese was very good, velvety in texture, with crisp veggies and the tomatillo was just right, not too bitter. I had 2 chicken flautitas and a ground beef taco. The flautitas were delicious with all white meat chicken crammed into slightly plump, but small crispy fried tortillas with melted white cheese on top. The beef taco was a bit different, the meat being somewhat like a chili mixture, rather than the traditional crumbled beef. One reviewer angrily called it dog food on Urbanspoon, but that's not fair at all. Actually I thought it was delicious and a unique take on a common recipe. The fresh green lettuce and yellow cheese were piled high on the side for me to load up. We both loved the rice, even though I'm not too fond of peas and carrots, but the flavor was excellent. And the charro beans were good, but a bit too fatty on the bacon.
This was only our second visit here, and our first in nearly 2 years, but we should go more often. We give it a thumbs up! Though a friendly reminder to the owners, please turn on the margarita machine earlier....