Positives: very good fajitas
Negatives: inconsistent food quality, no condiment refills, service sometimes surly
Las Fajitas has been a fixture of the Moore restaurant scene many years. It survived damage from a major tornado and near-constant construction in the area, and has long been one of our most frequent stops when dining out.
Lately, however, food and service have been inconsistent, with more negatives than positives. In the past three weeks, we've had two poor visits. Sloppy service and lackadaisical attitudes in food preparation are slowly accomplishing what storms and construction could not: drive us away.
Location and Parking -
This restaurant is located on the west I-35 frontage road near North 12th Street, an area full of eateries and chain hotels. Dining options vary from fast food to buffets to diners. Las Fajitas is the only full-service Mexican restaurant in this part of town.
This area has been in a state of rebuilding many years. After cleanup and repair from two major tornadoes, a lane-widening project on I-35 began. At this writing, 12th Street is rebuilt from the sub-bed up. We avoid it as much as possible.
Restaurant parking has sometimes been a problem, particularly during peak periods. Their lot is not very large and some spaces are cramped by poles. Occasionally, guests park in the outfield of the adjacent steakhouse. (I'm not encouraging that alternative...only reporting what has happened!)
Outside and in, the building is decorated in a vibrant colors typical of many independent Mexican restaurants. The orange and green exterior really stands out, as does their extra-tall sign that towers above the frontage road.
Inside, the place acceptably clean, but some fixtures are rather worn. A few booths are provided but most seating consists of closely-spaced tables. Prepare to get cozy with your neighbors if the place is busy.
Menu and Food -
Menu options have remained fairly constant across the years, but new entrees are added periodically. Fajitas are their flagship dish, but a lot of more traditional items like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos are available. A lunch menu is available during the day, including an all-you-can-eat option for $1.00 over the standard meal price.
In our experience, fajitas have been consistently good... They are served on a hot skillet and are not greasy like many other restaurants. I also enjoy Tacos Mexicanos, and my wife is fond of an appetizer platter called the Charrita (a combo plate featuring borracho beans, taquitos, nachos, and guacamole.)
Quality of Las Fajitas condiments has become increasingly inconsistent. Their complimentary salsa has become much thinner and spicier. I don't know if they're intentionally trying to curtail consumption, but that's the net effect.
They've also stopped providing refills of an entire range of complimentary items including chips, salsa and queso. Mexican restaurants commonly charge a fee for patrons that only eat chips and salsa without ordering an entree', but Las Fajitas is the only restaurant I've visited that only provides one serving of condiments to customers that buy something else. This was not always the case.
Ironically, their charge for chips and salsa is higher than many competing restaurants. Flatly stated, their setups are not worth the asking price.
In most Mexican restaurants, I enjoy spicy vegetable relish with warm tortillas. Las Fajitas relish has never been very good. Relish vegetables are mushy, with too many onions and too few carrots. Their steamed corn and flour tortillas are tough with little flavor. I'm sure both are bought from an outside source.
Overall, quality of some entrees has also suffered. Sometimes our meals have been great, other times they've been average, at best. During our most recent visit, my pico de gallo didn't taste fresh. That same visit, my wife found mold on tomato slices on her Charrita plate. Upon seeing that, I wondered if my pico was made from a rotten tomato. From these and other recent experiences, we've learned to look closely at the food on our plates closely before putting it into our mouths.
This is the least consistent area of all. Generally speaking, male servers are more professional, prompt, and courteous than their female counterparts. Without exception, the latter have been disinterested and uncooperative, and sometimes surly. I dread the prospect of being waited upon by one of the women. Unfortunately, we've been served by women two of our last three visits.
The Bottom Line -
In the past, the only concern we had when going to Las Fajitas was if we'd find a place to park. Now, that's generally not an issue. I sometimes wonder if others have had experiences like ours and have stopped coming as often...or at all.
This restaurant has seen tough times and come through well. However, those were external troubles. Today's issues seem internally-focused. We still have some great experiences here, but those occasions are getting farther apart.
My guess is their problems could be corrected with some training and renewed focus on basic food preparation and service techniques. Hopefully, owners and managers will redouble their efforts so Las Fajitas will be a great place to eat for years to come.
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