Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Restaurant Review: Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, Kaiserslautern

Hacienda Mexican Restaurant
Weilerbacher Strasse 110, Kaiserslautern

Mexican food is one of my favorite foods. It's no surprise, then, that I would seek out every possible instance of Mexican restaurant available near where I live. Since there are so many Americans in the Kaiserslautern, and since many of them also share the same appreciation for Mexican food, it's a region "blessed" by "many" Mexican restaurants, at least by German standards.

Very near the Vogelweh / Pulaski / Kapaun joint base on the east side of Kaiserslautern is the Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. It's located on the upper floor an unassuming, two storey building. I stopped by one day for lunch.

The restaurant is cute; it has sombreros and other items as decorations. I thought it was even cuter that each table has a little flag. If you'd like something or need to get the waiter's attention, you raise the flag and he'll come by. My dad went to a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio several decades ago and mentioned that the restaurant did that.

See? Isn't the flag cute?

I started some chips and salsa. These weren't bad. I also was thrilled when my waiter happily brought me a tall glass of ice water. It's not common to get free water, much less free ice water, in Germany. Even better yet, the glass was HUGE! It was a pleasant surprise because usually one must order a tiny bottle of mineral water that costs about half the price of the meal. I usually just don't order any drinks at all at the restaurant, but if I'm at a restaurant that has a large American clientele, I don't feel weird about asking for "Leitungswasser," which is tap water.

Look at that beautiful, cold, delicious glass of ice water!
The waiter then brought out my meal. I ordered cheese enchiladas. I was disappointed. The enchiladas had a brown gravy on them. I've had enchiladas in the US in the TexMex style with chili gravy on them before. That kind of gravy was tasty; it was slightly spicy and flavorful. Unfortunately, the gravy at Hacienda was not good at all. I tried tasting it several times, just to be fair. I ate about four bites before I realized that there was no sense in eating something that I thought didn't taste good. Just for the record: it's almost unheard of that I don't finish trying something!

This gravy just tasted like something out of a can, like a cheap beef gravy. It wasn't flavorful or tasty at all. It was so bad that I didn't finish eating my enchiladas; the gravy had permeated them so it wasn't like I could just scrape it off. The beans accompanying the meal had no flavor, either. I did eat the rice, but the spices on them didn't seem right, either.

I later found out that the owners of the restaurant are Pakistani. They sometimes substitute Pakistani spices for Mexican spices. I think this works to their detriment; it's just not Mexican food with spices from around the world :( I do have a colleague who is Mexican who has eaten here. He says he doesn't mind the food at the restaurant, but finds that it is not authentic, either.

I would give the restaurant a rating of 2 stars out of 5 and would not recommend it. The wait staff were pleasant, food was served promptly, and the restaurant is cute and clean enough, but the food was just not good.

The entrance to the restaurant is on the second floor; you park behind the building and use the stairs in the back.

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