El Texate

Having seen El Texate (316 Pico Blvd., at 4th St.) many times from the 7 bus, we were attracted by this charming little restaurant, which promised a foodie “find.” Tonight we were equally charmed by the tidy, colorful interior. Even the chips and tomatillo salsa, along with the tart, fresh lemonade, promised a great meal. Imagine our disappointment when the first bite of our nopal salad (cactus and mixed greens) revealed that it had no discernible dressing or flavor. The thick, tomato-based tortilla soup was also surprisingly bland, though at least passable. As for our entrées, maybe it was our mistake to skip the vegetarian burrito, which at least would have come with one of this Oaxacan eatery’s several intriguing moles. Nonetheless, we were scandalized by the cauliflower and chayote and only slightly less so by the chile relleno, all packaged with a lackluster, not fully-melted cheese and covered with the same soggy egg-based coating. (Of these, the thickly cut, tasteless chayote, a kind of squash, caused the most offense.) If only the food had been as pleasant as our sweet, helpful waitress. We left a nice tip, but we’ll never go back there again.

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