Last weekend, I drove around northwest Fresno looking at Mexican restaurants. I'm ashamed to say that in 8 years of living in Fresno, I still haven't found a Mexican restaurant that I love. For awhile, Plaza Ventana came close--but there have been too many misses over the last few years. So I'm now in search of a favorite Mexican restaurant. There are many, many to try, even without the ones I've eaten at before my search became more formal.
Samina and I ate at El Toro Tambien today. It's a windowless, brown building in a strip mall--but since it was in the same area as Max's, a restaurant I like, I thought--perhaps--it might be a contender. Samina had a busy schedule, so we met at the restaurant at 2:45--I was surprised to see that the bar area was already occupied by a number of barflies. In any event, the staff was friendly, the decor was dull, and the menu had few surprises. Of course, our lunch began with chips and salsa. My first bite of the salsa wasn't thrilling, but it got better over the course of the meal: a light tomato sauce with just a bit of a kick. However, the chips were a little thicker than I usually like. I ordered a bean tostada with guacamole. Since my first impressions were so poor, I figured that was a safe dish (much safer than the enchiladas verdes which in Fresno seem to always include green gravy rather than a nice, light green sauce). The tostada wasn't bad, but it was also far from great. Its base was a crunchy but small corn tortilla. The beans were fairly banal, and most of the plate was thinly sliced iceberg lettuce. I did like the guacamole, although it was a little smooth for my taste. Samina's Huevos Rebueldas (note to self: write things down next time) were a little bland, by her report.
Overall, an inauspicious beginning of my search. Please post suggestions about restaurants to visit and dishes to try if you live in the Fresno/Clovis area. Fresno has to have good Mexican food . . . and I'm determined to find it.