30610 Detroit Rd
Westlake, OH 44145
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El Rodeo

Cuisine: Mexican, Lunch, Salads

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AMAZINGshaun photo

AMAZINGshaun

 Westlake, OH
 

Good Food, Lackluster Service

Right off the bat I’d like to clarify that I wanted to rate this about a 3.5, not a solid 3. The quality of food and service is nowhere near the worst I’ve experienced, but it’s definitely not top notch. The restaurant is only 2 minutes from my house, so my fiance and I are fairly frequent customers. I’m going to run down a few examples of good/bad experiences.

My first time at the restaurant was actually quite good. My fiance (who I was just dating at the time) and I had a nice quiet dinner together. The atmosphere is fun, our server was nice, and the food, despite ordering something I wasn’t a big fan of overall, was better than I was expecting. The price wasn’t bad at all either.

Fast forward a couple of months. Sarah had been planning a going away party at El Rodeo for one of her co-workers, who was leaving for another job. She had called and made reservations 3 weeks prior, and even called multiple times leading up to the day to make sure everything was still set up. The reservations were for 7:00 PM. Sarah and I arrived first, at around 6:50 and ask if our table is ready. The owner/manager tells us that they need to push multiple tables together to make enough room for the number of people we have. No big deal. But then he comes back to tell us that there are families eating at 2 of the 4 tables we need. He assures us that they are just about ready to leave. More of our party begins to arrive. at 7:10 the manager comes back to us and informs us that the families are still at our tables and asks if we would like to be split up in separate booths. No thank you. We opt to wait. Luckily there was a bar where some of us sat and had a drink while waiting. What really threw me for a loop, though, was that other than the two families at our table, the place was practically empty. 80% of the restaurant is booths. Why couldn’t these families sit at a booth? Oh well, once we were seated, they had multiple servers helping take orders/bring out food and keeping drinks refilled. It almost made up for the botched reservation.

And now for a story about their take-out service. I will say this: Who you get on the phone to take your order will make or break your experience. I have a nice chunk of good experiences in this department, but the last 2 or 3 times when I’ve called in an order, I’ve had this really nice lady answer the phone, but her english is not that great. One time in particular was quite bad with her. I call in an order for 2 dinner combinations and an extra hard taco. I had to repeat my order 4 times to her on the phone before she told me it would be ready in 10 minutes. I go and start getting ready to leave, and Sarah tells me that I have a missed call from El Rodeo. I call them back and it’s the woman. She has me repeat my order again, and then tells me it’ll be 10 more minutes. Oh well, as long as everything is correct I don’t care if it takes an extra couple of minutes. So I make the drive to the restaurant, tell them I’m there for a pickup order and the woman stares at me with this blank stare. Doesn’t say a word, she just stares. I repeat myself and she runs off to get the owner. He tells me he’s sorry, but I have to repeat my entire order. He writes it down and then delivers it to the kitchen, telling me it will be a few minutes. 10 minutes later, he comes out with a bag of food. I open it to make sure it’s all there and correct, and of course it’s not. We were missing an entire dinner combination. This is after repeating my order to somebody 7+ times. He apologizes and goes to get the correct items. I finally get back to the house half an hour later with everything semi-cold.

Since that experience, we’ve tried carry out one time. It was nowhere near as bad, but it still left a lot to be desired.

Boy oh boy, if I wasn’t such a huge fan of their soft beef chimichangas I would have stopped coming here a long time ago.

Overall, the prices are really good when you look at the quality of the food. The service may not be the best, but I’m willing to put up with it when I have a sudden craving for mexican. I’d say if you have a bad experience here, give it another shot as the service is more-often-then-not pretty good. Despite my bad experiences, I will still continue to go to El Rodeo.

Mexican Fried Rice

This comes with a few of the dinner combinations. The combination I’ll get sometimes is one chimichanga and one hard taco. That combo comes with a portion of refried beans and a portion of the fried rice. I love mixing it all up and eating it along with a bite of the chimichanga. So good. Very nice combination.

Refried Beans

Again, this comes with most, if not all of the dinners. It’s very good. They top it with a cheddar cheese mix. It accompanies the rest of the food very well. Sometimes when I order El Rodeo it’s for the sole purpose of getting a nice big portion of refried beans.

Chicken Chimichanga Dinner

This was the first dish I ever had at El Rodeo. It comes with 2 Chicken Chimichangas (you can get them soft or hard/fried) that are topped with their delicious queso dip, a nice sized portion of refried beans, and a big pile of toppings should you choose to use them (lettuce, guacamole, sour cream)
While it’s good, it’s really not my thing. The chicken inside is shredded and pre-mixed with peppers and onions, which I don’t really enjoy eating a lot of. The ratio of chicken to vegetables was about 65/35 which isn’t bad. This is the dish my fiance orders every time and she loves it.

Beef Chimichanga Dinner

This is the same as the chicken chimichangs dinner, except that they are stuffed with delicious seasoned ground beef. I tried this version for the first time a week ago, and I’m not going to lie, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in quite a while. It was mildly spicy, they loaded the queso on top, and the beans were hot and delicious. I’m definitely going to order this again

They also have chimichangas with beef tips instead of ground beef, which are also quite good. It’s all based on personal preference though.

Chips and Queso Dip

I forget the pricing on this appetizer. They give you a nice size bowl of dip though. The chips are actually free for everybody, each table I believe gets one basket of chips for every 2 people at the table. Extra baskets are a nominal chagre, but they give you more than enough to finish the dip.

It’s a nice zesty, cheesy bowl of goodness. Once in a while you’ll find a nice chunk of hot pepper. If you’re going to get an appetizer, I HIGHLY recommend the queso.

Beef Hard Taco

I always order at least one beef hard taco when I get food here. A word of advise though: Do not order these to go. All they do is wrap them in foil and throw them in the bag, but the meat is so juicy that it leaks through the foil and gets everything all soggy.

The meat is very well seasoned, and they load on the lettuce and cheese. If you let it sit for too long though, like I said before, it will leak and get the shell all soggy.

Guacamole

I do not like guacamole. I try it at every mexican restaurant I eat at though. El Rodeo actually makes it very well. My fiance and all our friends devour it any time it’s ordered.

As far as my personal preference goes, this is some of the most enjoyable guacamole I’ve had. I refuse to give it 5 stars though, as I would never order it on my own because I just don’t like it that much.

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El Rodeo is located near the cities of Bay Village, North Olmsted, and Fairview Park.
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