WTGW 1/14/15: Tito’s Mexican Grill, Fairlawn

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Happy 2015! So, yeah, we’re back. I’m sure you missed us.

Unfortunately, 2015 is not off to a great start for the WTGW crew, as this week’s pick earned a thumbs down – and, quite frankly, a huge “WTF” – from the majority of the group. At least the year can only get better from here?

Amanda’s recent cravings for Mexican food and margaritas led us to Tito’s Mexican Grill in Fairlawn for this week’s pick – a place which, by the way, is in desperate need of a website manager. For real. I mean, when you direct people to “call for more information” on the food items instead of just putting your menu online that’s a sure sign that the technology fairy has yet to pay you a visit. “Hi, I was searching online and found your restaurant. Can you tell me more about your chicken enchiladas and full service bar so I can decide if I want to eat there?” Because I’m sure that’s a phone call that every hostess is dying to intercept.

This is probably the coolest part of the whole visit

This is probably the coolest part of the whole visit

I guess we should have assumed the direction the evening was going in when we first arrived and were seated at one of the illustrious “middle of the aisle” tables. Like, seriously, they just plopped some tables and chairs in the middle of the aisle between two rows of booths. So we were constantly having servers and customers walk behind us on either side of the table, and plates being carried overtop of our heads. Because that’s comfortable. It’s what I imagine enjoying a meal in the middle of a two-lane highway next to an airport would be like. I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.

So anyway, drink order time comes along. And we faced the second strike of the evening, when Ted goes for the signature mojito … and is promptly told they are out of mint. Well, that’s disappointing. And maybe should have led off the “what can I get you to drink” conversation, no?

Thankfully, they weren’t out of tequila and mixers, as the rest of us were craving margaritas. And are always willing to try the various flavors. I had mango, Amanda went with peach, Shane tried banana and Jenny got the strawberry. They were tasty, although Jenny thought hers was too sweet. Shane and I both liked the banana the best. I’m not afraid to admit I was a little bit jealous I didn’t order that one for myself.

The only thing worthy of a thumbs up

The only thing worthy of a thumbs up

Still reeling from the great mint shortage of 2015, Ted ended up with a beer. Cue violins.

Unfortunately, our meals were not a much better experience. The food at Tito’s is just OK. I mean, I get it, Mexican places are kind of a-dime-a-dozen, and it seems like all of them have menus that are pretty much carbon copies of the same dishes. Everyone in your party can order different things, yet everyone’s plate will most likely feature something wrapped in some sort of a tortilla, a side of rice and/or beans, and a pile of lettuce/tomato/sour cream/guac that I’m never really sure is meant to be eaten alone like a salad or used as condiments for the tortilla thing.

And while we’re on the subject, can we just talk for a minute about how there always seem to be about 1500 variations of burritos on a Mexican menu, and all of them are just a teeny tiny bit different from one another? They all have these impressive names – Grande, Superior, Jumbo, Burrito Special – yet none of them seem to be any bigger or smaller than the other. It seems the only real differences are whether the rice/bean combo exists inside or out of the tortilla shell and what kind of cheese or sauce mixture is poured over top of it. And those differences are then different at every restaurant. So a Burrito Superior at one place is really a Grande Burrito on another menu. It’s infuriating.

*End rant*

In any case, this is all true of Tito’s, except they seemed to leave one thing out that other Mexican places have mastered: flavor. Again, it’s not rocket science here. Mexican food isn’t meant to be overly spicy – that’s what those little green and red sauce bottles on the table are for – but it meant to at least taste like something. Our one consensus of the evening is that all of our dishes seemed to be lacking any sort of defining flavor. Unless you count bland. Is bland a flavor? Then that’s what they went with here. Good choice.

I had the grande burrito. Which – for the sake of the burrito flowchart discussion above – was really just shredded chicken inside a small tortilla, with rice and lettuce/tomato on the side. Noted.

Burrito something

Burrito something

Ted had the Tito’s Burritos. He really didn’t say anything about them, which leads me to believe he didn’t like them. The thumbs down also tells me that.

Is it just me, or does it look like he's doing some strange magic trick here?

Is it just me, or does it look like he’s doing some strange magic trick here? Maybe he’s trying to make the food disappear without actually eating it

Jenny got the chicken quesadilla from the appetizer menu. Having attended a co-workers retirement party just before meeting up with us, she wasn’t up for a huge meal, but wanted to at least try something other than the chips, salsa and margaritas. She said it was OK, but there really wasn’t even enough of a portion there to give an opinion on.

It's like "Honey I Shrunk Amanda's Meal"

It’s like “Honey I Shrunk The Meal”

Shane and Amanda both ordered their Mexican dining staple, the fajita quesadillas. Being that they both order this at pretty much every Mexican place we go to, I believe them when they say this one wasn’t outstanding. And Shane commented that his onions were soggy. For shame.

At least this one was filling

At least this one was filling

We also had to flag down the waiter to get Shane’s side of guac, which didn’t come out with the meal like it was supposed to. And the waiter kind of implied “well do you still want it?” when we finally did get his attention. No, we thought we’d pull you over to the table just to remind you we ordered it and make sure you still charge us for it. Really? I swear we’ve played this game before.

Speaking of flagging down the waiter, I feel like that’s what we spent the majority of our time doing throughout our visit. He was like a mirage. He took our drink order and then disappeared for far longer than what it takes to make four margaritas. So long, actually, that when he finally returned he forgot which of us ordered each flavor. It was like we were a whole new table to him. Maybe he’s like 10-second Ted from the movie 50 First Dates, who knows. Then, a bit later,  we ask for more chips and salsa – and he brings the chips, but no salsa. Helpful. Then he was gone for, well, ever – and finally came back to take meal orders. And then the bills were a whole other fiasco to obtain. It’s like every time we asked him for something another 15-20 minutes of our lives vanished while we waited for him. I half expected us to emerge from the restaurant 5 years older after all was said and done.

Also, and I’m all for authenticity at Mexican places – but not only was his accent very intense, but he spoke in just barely a whisper. So a)we can’t hear you, and b)what we thought we heard we can’t understand. Maybe keep this guy in the back. Just sayin.

Overall I think Tito’s earned itself a big no thank you from the WTGW crew. Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of what 2015 has in store for us.

Ted

Ted

Amanda

Amanda

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

Jenny (who didn't feel she ate enough to warrant an opinion on the place)

Jenny (who didn’t feel she ate enough to warrant an opinion on the place)

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda
Drinks:  Margaritas were tasty, but finding out they had run out of mint for the “signature” mojitos put a sour note on the evening. Ans maybe could’ve led off the server’s welcome speech, but whateves.
Food:
Typical Mexican fare, with less flavor. So if you’ve been thinking to yourself “man, I could really stand to find a really bland Mexican place” then I think your search is over. You’re welcome.
Service: Um. Well. Is non-existent a choice?
Overall: Thumbs down. Since Mexican places are pretty much a dime a dozen, I’m sure we can find someplace closer to home with better service and tastier meals.

Next Pick: Ted

Tito's Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

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