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“Mexican Food”

Tex Tubb's Taco Palace
Ranked #90 of 1,037 Restaurants in Madison
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: Mexican
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings
Reviewed July 27, 2012

I love the atmosphere at Tex Tubbs. I heard they are closing and I am really sorry to hear that. It is a nice neighborhood restaurant. Good Food Good Variety of different tex mex recipes.

1  Thank donnahue90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 - 103 of 125 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2012

Tex Tubb's review just in, fantastic and original! Highly recommended for those who prefer a more culinary taco. I had fried avacado, feta, zucchini, chard, and bean tacos! The Best! I sampled the Tilapia taco, veggie tostada and jicima salad with great ratings. They also offer a salsa bar, fresh chips, margarita samplers, and original fusion recipes. :-)

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1  Thank FoodAmbassador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012

We've eaten at Tex Tubb's (TT's) over a dozen times in the past few years but once had such a problem with service that we did not go back for 6 months. TT's serves an eclectic, modern Cal-Mex style of food (notwithstanding the Texas theme) that is surprisingly varied and healthy and is reasonably priced - nothing on the menu more expensive than $9.99 for the fajitas, if memory serves.

PROs:

- Terrific food, including excellent fajitas, very good quesadillas, and especially their varied tacos, with something like 16 different types of tacos, with a variety of beef, chicken, pork, fish, chorizo, and veggie fillings. Highly recommend the El Pastor taco, pork with pineapple.

- Very good salsa, in a self-serve salsa bar

- Good beer selection, with several local microbrews on tap plus Shiner Bock, and lots of great microbrews in a refrigerate case. A flight of 3 samples of margaritas (an ample 5oz. each) were very good and an excellent value at $5.

CONS:

- I'll get the minor one out of the way first: they charge $2.99 for chips and salsa, one of the only Mexican restaurants in the area that charge for them. This is fairly recent - tortilla chips used to be free.

- Now the major downside: Service. The waitstaff ranges from almost always slow to unbelievably bad and there's never an excuse for it - there always seems to be an adequate number of servers here for a relatively modest sized restaurant. Once two years ago we had to ask three times for our drinks and after half an hour, the server still had not brought my daugther's lemonade nor even taken our food order. When I told her "This is now the fourth time I've had to ask for my daughter's drink," she copped an incredible attitude toward me, and snarled "I'll get to it!" Five minutes later, I watch our server spill part of a tray she was bussing on the floor and she proceded to scoop the garbage up off the floor with her hands, push it down into the trashcan, then realized I was staring at her and she had forgotten the drink yet again, she hastily poured my daughter's drink and brought it to us with her fingers holding on to the glass by both sides of the rim, with a finger dipping into the lemonade - she had immediately stopped touching both garbage and the dirty floor and poured the drink, without washing her hands! I demanded the manager, immediately and she stood there, rudely demanding "WHY?? WHAT'S WRONG?!?" Eventually the manager came over to our table and she shyly mumbled a brief apology after I explained how horrible our server's delays, rudeness and appalling lack of hygiene had been and requested another server. The rest of our meal went fine and shortly before we were about to leave the manager came over to our table, comped our meal (may have been only half of the bill, I forget) and gave us a $25 gift card. However, we did not dare go back for many months for fear that that server would be working and would spit or urinate in our food (yes, that happens at restaurants when servers get mad at customers).

Two visits ago in May of 2012, we came in at lunch on a Saturday before going to a birthday party and had a hippy-ish looking server in his early to mid-20's who looked like he was trying to grow his beard out to join ZZ Top. After 10 minutes he finally came to take our order. 15 minutes later we still had not received our chip basket nor our drinks and were seriously debating walking out, but figured that we wouldn't have time to start the process over again at the only other restaurant my daughter wanted to eat at, so we stuck it out. Our lunch took over an hour, would have taken longer if we had not asked another server if he could find out from our server what was taking so long, and there was no good excuse (at least I don't consider admiring his beard and dreaming about his next doobie to be a good excuse) - the restaurant was half full and waitstaff had no more than 3-4 tables each. Our server didn't apologize or even try to explain the delays. Even last weekend when we went back and had a cheery experienced server (with an amazingly detailed tatoo on her shoulder) come to wait on us with a server trainee (so we had not one but two servers, plus they seemed to have another kitchen employee whose job was just to deliver food to the tables straight from the kitchen), we still had waits of at least 5 minutes longer than typical/acceptable to place our order, to receive our chips and salsa, to receive our lunch, and to get the bill; this was slightly better and faster than average for TT's, believe it or not.

- TT's management is less than competent. The restaurant always has adequate numbers of servers for the numbers of tables (I worked as a server years ago and know how restaurants work), yet it always has slow service. Part of the problem is that the managers don't assign tables in one room to a specific server, but instead, they have tables in all three rooms, leading to longer delays and worse service as they may be gone from one room for lengthy periods. Two visits ago, several of the servers, our bearded one worst of all, were taking a very lackadaisical attitude to their jobs, but the slender, shorter manager with glasses did nothing about it. Call me a snob, but a lot of the servers and bartenders have a very "Dewd, it's casual!" stoner look to them and their rather relaxed, cavalier attitude about life translates into inattentive service. This is simply bad personnel selection and bad management - tables sitting for long times mean dissatisfied customers with lower repeat business as well as lower customer turnover, which means less income for the restaurant . If ever a business needed to terminate an employee to serve as an example and light a proverbial fire under its employees' backsides, this restaurant is that business. Two years ago the female manager whom I demanded to speak to after our horrendous experience with our server did not, to the best of my observations, even speak to our first server while we were there. If I was that manager, I would have sent that server home, if not fired her outright for such incredibly bad, rude service to a customer, but she continued to wait on other tables.

CONCLUSION:

Since I'm neither masochistic nor a pushover, you can fairly conclude that the fact that I continue to eat at Tex Tubbs' in spite of their service indicates that the restaurant has damn good food. At $7.99 for two tacos and heaps of beans and rice or a jicama salad (which always fills me up and I've never wished I ordered the 3-taco combo for $2 more), it's also a good value. Honestly, though, the service really bugs me and other than a letter to the owners (the Food Fight Group - a Madison conglomerate that owns about a dozen mostly excellent, successful local restaurants), or just maybe if they read these reviews, I doubt things will get any better. We'll just have to try to avoid going here unless we happen to have a lot of free time (i.e. at least half an hour longer than a typical meal would take).

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1  Thank lousygolfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2012

I went here with my vegetarian sister and a friend. there was a bit of a wait when we got there which is probably normal since it is rather small. But, the wait wasn't so bad cause we got to have a beer while we waited!

Once you are seated there is a salsa bar you can help yourself to, and includes various flavors to suit anyone's tastes.

There are many tacos to choose from, vegetarian, fish or meat. Every single one looks incredible! My favorite part was you could choose 2-3 different types of tacos on one plate. For the adventurous eaters this was ideal. Some of the selections are sweet potato tacos, Cuban and fried avocado! YUMMMMY! Then you could pick from various sides, all being divine!

The prices are under $10 a plate, so sounds good to me!

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Thank Rebecca K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2012

I haven't had Mexican food as great as this wonderful restaurant's in ages, well besides my mother's home-cookin' that is! I had the "Gun Barrel" 2-Enchilada, black beans, rice, and 2-hardshell taco meal, and ate every bit of it, because of such great authentic flavor. I also had a Raspberry Limeade beverage which didn't taste as I expected, but was good enough to sip on. The menu items are average-priced, the restaurant has lots of character, fast & friendly staff/service, a bar, a skylight, and very clean, including the restrooms. Considering it was my first time in there, I will definitely return, and recommend it to others!!!

Thank aleopard_princess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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