My family were pretty loyal patrons of the Macaroni Grill in Manchester for birthdays, celebrations, and whatnot. So, it made me a little sad when it closed down a while ago. However, the faux-stone building has a new tenant —Plaza Azteca Restaurante–a chain from south of the border. And by border, I mean the Mason-Dixon line, as it is based in Virginia.
They did a nice job transforming “Italy” into “Mexico” on the inside and our server– we’ll call him Miguel–seemed like a pleasant enough guy…until he started calling us “amigos”…every single time he said anything: “Can I get you something to drink, amigos?”; “I’ll be right back with some chips, amigos”; “Here are your chips, amigos.” Seriously irritating. The chips came with a decent salsa and a very different orange cream dip which I wasn’t a fan of, but probably good for those who like a milder taste.
The menu is pretty vast and reasonably priced–my cheese enchilada, chile relleno, rice and beans plate was only $7.50 and you could get a pitcher of Bud for around $10. The Boyfriend ordered some special I can’t find on their overly colorful online menu–but it was on Miguel’s suggestion (amigo) and consisted of beef, veggies and whatnot on a chapula-style tortilla with a creamy sauce.
The food came out faster than Speedy Gonzales himself could have made it, which was impressive (and a bit disconcerting). My dish was a little boring, but definitely filled me up, and was probably better than anything I could make myself. The enchilada sauce reminded me of what I get in a can at the grocery store. But the chile relleno was pretty decent and the portion of rice and beans was generous. My margarita wasn’t overly “margarita mixy,” but I also couldn’t taste any tequila. Boyfriend didn’t love his dish–it was too heavy, but better as leftovers apparently (which Miguel came to wrap up while Boyfriend was still eating…awkward).
Miguel also came to check up on us about four more times as we were trying to relax and finish our drinks, each time telling us to “take your time, amigos.” Needless to say, this had the opposite effect as I started to feel like I should chug my margarita…not that chugging the practically virgin drink would have affected my ability to drive. While Boyfriend was signing the tab, Miguel was hovering and made the type of comment no server should ever make: “Oh, just round it up, I’ll even do a dance, amigo!” You should never talk about the tip with the customer unless it’s to thank them for their generosity. Duh!
So, while I’m very glad we tried a new place, I think I’ll stick to Pancho Loco in Vernon if I need a Mexican fix.
One salt shaker, because I’m not your amigo, amigo.