Last visit: June 2013
Elote Mexican Kitchen is the newest restaurant from the same owners who run the very popular Oliva Italian restaurant across the street. As soon as I heard they had "high end" tacos and "10 draft beers", we had to make a special trip.
Just to clear thing up right from the start - they do not have 10 draft beers, more like 7. And only one is a local craft brew (Rahr, which is the oldest microbrewery from the area, and their taps are easily quaffed elsewhere). That's fine, I'm always happy to get an adult slurpee instead, which is exactly what I did.
Elote's is a QSR, or in laymen's terms, you order at the counter. We each went with a taco combo, that allows for two tacos, rice and beans. I had the shredded chicken on a flour tortilla, and a seasoned ground beef taco in a crispy shell. Mrs. RJG settled on a shredded chicken as well as a vegetable taco, each in a corn tortilla. We each had the cilantro lime rice, and I ordered refried, while she went with the black beans. And we each ended up with refried beans. I will say this: Everything was good. Nothing was very good, much less great. I suppose the beans are a bit heavy for my tastes, but certainly not terrible. But they do commit one unpardonable sin as far as the RJG is concerned: They don't have their own salsas for the tacos!! Instead they have bottles of the red and green El Yucateco sauces. Hey, I love El Yucateco. But I can buy that at the grocery store. They do have a salsa you can get with the chips, and it's downright awful. A very chunky tomato sauce with little flavor. No thanks.
So... the margarita was good, a little sweet, and could use more tequila, but still good. The shredded chicken was the best thing we each ate, and was seasoned very nicely. So this was above average. The cilantro lime rice was pretty good, better than Habanero's that we spoke of recently, but it seems it would have been better served in a burrito (ala Chipotles). The beans were too thick. My ground beef taco was OK, but couldn't hold a candle to places that specialize in that like Taco Casa or Taco Mayo. The tortillas were well made, especially the corn according to Mrs. RJG. I do think the tacos are priced too high at $2.50 each. These are at best $2 tacos. The restaurant itself is very nice. Modern, with clean lines, cool colors, and plenty of flat screen TV's. Service was squeaky clean and nice.
So where does that leave us? We liked it. Will we go back? Probably not. What for? There are just too many places better than Elote in the same food category. In reading some of the reviews, I see some folks enjoy it because they have nothing else like it in the neighborhood. Fair enough. If I lived there, I probably would hang out there more too. But it's not worth the drive for us. And neither is Oliva to be frank. They're just too straight down the middle for us.