Monday, January 11, 2016

Super Cinco

We found ourselves at the Times Square Chevy's location over the weekend having dinner with my parents after an afternoon at the botanical garden for the holiday train show, and I decided to try something new. Whenever we used to go to Chevy's, I would get one of the mix and match combos with some combination of tacos and enchiladas, along with the usual sides of rice, beans, and corn cake. This time I chose something from the favorites menu, something they called the "super cinco."

The super cinco was $21.49, and the mix and match combo I usually get was around $18.49 for 2 items and $19.49 for 3 items. (As an aside, when did the prices at Chevy's get so outrageously high? I know they're probably higher in Times Square than they are at other places in the country, but they still seem to have gone up dramatically.) The pricing seemed a little strange - I could get a 2 item combo for $18.49 or I could get a 5 item combo for only $3 more? We speculated that maybe the super cinco combo didn't have full sized portions of each of the items, but the server assured us that, yes, they were all full portions. In that case, I figured that I might as well get the larger entree and take the leftovers home for another lunch!

The super cinco came on 3 separate plates - one with a tamale, 2 enchiladas, a taco, and a dollop of corn cake, a second with the chile relleno, and a third with the rice and beans on the side. Going left to right across the plates, first up was the pork tamale with meat sauce. The tamales are supposed to be "hand-rolled daily with 100% corn masa." Not sure what else would be in the masa besides corn, but anyway. The tamale was stuffed with pulled pork which had good flavor but was a little stringy. I had some of the carnitas from A's fajita, and the pork there was better. The meat sauce was pretty good, but nothing really special. The tamales from Trader Joe's may not come slathered in sauce, but I think the flavors there are better. (And I usually just put our beloved green dragon sauce on those anyway.)

The 2 enchiladas were the picadillo beef with meat sauce and the salsa chicken with New Mexico red chile sauce. The chicken enchilada was the one that I usually got in the combo, so I was very familiar with this one. It was about the same as it always was, pretty good flavor, good sauce, nice topping of cheese. Inside the beef one was what seemed like cooked ground beef with peppers. I liked the cheese and sauce on the beef one, but found it interesting that the sauce and cheese weren't also inside the enchilada, just the beef mixture. They were fine overall.

Item cuatro in the super cinco was the beef taco. This was also supposed to be filled with picadillo beef, but it seemed to have more sauce, kind of like the "traditional" taco meat you find in crispy tacos. You could get the tacos in either flour tortillas or crispy corn shells, and I of course went with the crispy. I really like the crispy shells at Chevy's because they're on the longer side, meaning they can fill them up pretty well and spread the toppings over more of the meat. The taco was topped with lettuce, tomato/pico de gallo, and cheese (seemed like cotija). There was also some sort of creamy sauce at the base of the taco, but I couldn't quite figure out what the flavor was.

The last part of the super cinco was a chile relleno, described on the menu as "a fresh poblano pepper stuffed with jack cheese and topped with ranchero sauce." This was our least favorite part of the super cinco. It was rich and heavy and not really all that flavorful. The cheese tasted more like mozzarella cheese than jack cheese. It didn't have any of the zing that you expect from jack. The pepper seemed to be topped with even more cheese and some tomato-like substance (maybe that's the ranchero sauce). There was also what seemed like breading on the outside that had an odd sweet flavor to it. Overall, the entire thing just seemed like an Italian-tasting stuffed pepper more than what we would have expected from chile relleno. It was so heavy that I gave half of it to A.

I don't really have much to say about the rice and beans, except that I remember liking both more when we used to go to Chevy's years ago, but it's been so long that I don't really remember exactly why. I still really like the salsa there. It reminds me a bit of the garlic chipotle salsa at Trader Joe's but not exactly. Just like when I was much younger, I snack on the chips and salsa throughout dinner, because I find the salsa really refreshing and like it lightens up the meal a bit.

Overall, the meal was fine and the portions were massive, but the prices were pretty high. It isn't what we would call "authentic" Mexican cuisine, as this is as Mexican as chicken and broccoli is Chinese food, but we don't go there expecting that. I don't think I would get the super cinco again, since I don't really want the chile relleno next time, but the enchiladas were fine and I still do enjoy the tacos there. A liked his fajita, saying that it reminded him of why we used to go there in the past, so for us, the fajitas or the tacos are probably the way to go if we return.

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