Overall Rating: Ho-hum
Highlight: Potato & Cheese Enchiladas
Lowlight: Friendly but Inattentive Service
Veggie Note: Limited Selection, but at least a few choices. Recommend asking to confirm ingredients
Stopped here for dinner on our way to Wegman's.
Sierra Madre Saloon is a cantina style Mexican restaurant with more bar than dining room. It was a little dark and smoky but had interesting atmosphere and what appeared to be a pretty nice outdoor dining patio, but it was not set-up or in use tonight, odd for a warm summer night.
There was no indication if we should seat ourselves or wait, so after minute or two of standing in the doorway, we found our own way to table and sat down. The menu had a variety of slightly more interesting than standard Mexican fare. There was no specific indication anywhere on the menu of which dishes may or may not be vegetarian, but they were pretty good about listing ingredients for most dishes. I would still be careful to ask if you're not certain, especially if it's going to ruin your night to have meat appear on a plate in front of you.
We had the following:
- Homemade Chips and Salsa - the homemade chips were a nice treat, but definitely left us with divided opinions. They were thick and flaky, very unique, which my partner enjoyed about them. I was not impressed and thought they were heavy and became pasty in your mouth. I would have preferred them a bit thinner and crunchier. The salsa had signs of being homemade as well. We both agreed the tomatoes were likely canned and coincidentally were also a bit pasty.
- Cheese Dip "Con Queso" - described as a blend of cheeses with a touch of salsa. When it arrived it we both gave it an inquisitive look followed by a pretty thorough examination. It was very dark in color and had a strange consistency. We were actually a bit nervous that there might be meat hiding in there. Luckily it was thin enough that after a deep probing we were convinced that it was safe after all. The dark color definitely came from a heavy dose of salsa, not a touch. We would have preferred it to be cheesier than it was, but we did finish it. The bonus was that it came with more traditional style tortilla chips, which I was craving after our less-than-normal starter chips.
- Chili Rellenos - The relleno was very tender and mild flavored, as it is described in the menu. The ranchero sauce topping, also very mild, was mostly unremarkable.
- Potato & Cheese Enchilada with Red Sauce - this was a nice treat as my partner loves potatoes. The red sauce was not as spicy as the menu let on. Luckily there were tasty pockets of spice hiding in the potatoes.
- Refried Beans and Spanish Rice - these side dishes were served with both of our entrees. They were both fine, nothing special, nothing bad about them. They made our single portion sized entrees plenty filling though. There was no specific indication that the refried beans were vegetarian (no lard), we would have liked to ask, but our waitress was mostly unavailable ot us, sitting at the bar and chatting instead of attending to us. They were pretty thin in consistency, so we took our chances and ate them, but I plan to give them a call at some point and I will report back here when I get an answer to that question.
Just a few other notes:
The beer selection was typical for the most part (Bud, etc...). You will find as our blog posts continue that we are avid micro-brew drinkers, as well as local wine aficionados. In general, we always give a ++ to any locally produced food or drink. None of that was apparent here.
Our server was mostly friendly, but as I mentioned before, she was pretty preoccupied with an ongoing conversation she was having with a co-worker at the bar. The bar-tender also had a pretty saucy mouth that we could hear pretty clearly from where we were sitting, not that we're perfect angels, but she was working, we weren't.
Final Thoughts: With so many Mexican restaurant choices in the area, especially right on the same road, I doubt we will make our way back to here again anytime soon.