I waited a week to write this post because I wanted to let the emotion of the day pass me by. We had not eaten much over the course of the day and were pretty darn hungry when we arrived at La Hacienda on the bay front in South Padre Island. Greeted by a "how many?" from the hostess - without a smile - we said "4" and she said it would be 20 to 30 minutes...maybe as long as 45 minutes. No smile and no eye contact. I said that would be fine because I had heard from friends that the wait could be long despite MANY available tables in sight. She noticed me looking and said, defensively, we have a lot of reservations and people waiting. I said "no problem", smiled, and asked where we could wait. Vague hand signal towards the bar. Good grief.
We sat out on their beautiful patio and enjoyed the sunset over the bay...a truly lovely location. Twenty minutes passed, then thirty, then we were counting the five minute marks. My oldest son, who was visiting, said he was going inside to the bar to get a drink...five minutes later my youngest son joined him...at the 50 minute mark my husband and I followed them in (after listening to every patron on the patio grumble...which was only escalating my irritation).
I told my son when he finished his margarita, we were going to go ahead and leave. Right about the one hour mark, the manager walks over and asks if we'd like some chips and salsa while we wait for our table. I said no, we'd had about enough waiting...an hour. He looked "concerned" and got my name and came back with the hostess. We were seated in one of the tables that had been empty at least 20+ minutes and the hostess walked away, without providing silverware or an "enjoy your meal". If I was her boss, she would no longer be employed at La Hacienda....or at least would be receiving some sincere customer service training. Her attitude was the talk of the folks waiting on the patio!
|Outstanding salsa with roasted bits of goodness...I'd go back|
for the salsa alone!
Chips and salsa were quickly deposited on the table and our drink order was taken promptly. Our waiter was really moving it. He later told us they had 3 waiters and a cook call in (or not show up) and they were slammed. I saw only one bus person trying to clean the many tables that were empty but not clean. At the point of drink orders we had been in the restaurant an hour and fifteen minutes. Thankfully, the chips and salsa took the edge off. Unfortunately, I drank my water really fast (feeling dehydrated after the wait) and it took a while to get refills. I sent my son to the bar to get napkins and the waiter noted we had not been provided the utensil and napkin sets and went to the hostess stand to get some for us.
So - despite the gorgeous location, the lovely decor, and the reportedly awesome margaritas and definitely awesome chips and salsa, I was tired and irritable. So, moving on to the meal.
We ordered a queso...which never came. When the meals came, my son asked about it...and they brought some out. I wish he hadn't bothered. It was cool in temperature - my son won't eat white cheese queso (which it clearly stated on the menu) and it had a taste of bell peppers...which we are not fond of. Total waste of money as it wasn't eaten. $7
|Seafood Trio Enchiladas - note the right side of the enchilada which |
was hard as a rock. Bummer.
My youngest ordered a soft taco plate, no vegetables, served correctly - which he enjoyed very much. $10.00
My oldest got classic ground beef enchiladas...he said "they were just enchiladas - nothing special" and he really doesn't like cilantro so the beans were pushed to the side. He only ate one of his enchiladas. $12.00
My husband cleaned his plate. He ordered a Chili Relleno and said it was delicious! He also raved about the margarita with fresh lime juice. The Chili Relleno plate was $12.00.
So, I feel the need to try it again...not on a holiday week-end (Sunday before Labor Day) on the night of a big island concert. I have heard so many good things about the food, I think we must have just gone on a bad night. I will go again...and I'll report back.
I'm not going to give it a rating just yet. If so many friends had not raved about the food, I wouldn't be wasting my time on a return. I think, truly, it was just a bad night.
When I got home, I checked urbanspoon.com ...and they weren't listed. I reported it as a new restaurant and since it has been added, 3 individuals have checked that they liked it. Someone reported as of yesterday that the food and service was very good.
Keep an eye out for an updated review within the next month! I'm looking forward to trying their Tacos Carnitas or Chicken al Carbon...both sound yummy to me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.