Thursday, March 10, 2011
Jardin Corona - 13233 Pond Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78729
I wanted to go to A la Carrera, but they're closed, so Google Maps led me to Jardin Corona. I went in with high hopes.
The sign said to seat yourself, and a really friendly guy told me as much, so I copped a squat at a booth. I had chips, salsa and water in no time from said friendly guy, but I was ready to order in mere moments, yet my server was AWOL. Ten minutes later, here he finally comes. I ordered the Jardin Supreme Platter (one beef taco, one beef chalupa, two cheese enchiladas, guac, flat chile con queso, rice and beans). I had no idea what "flat" chile con queso meant, but I didn't sweat it.
The chips and salsa were bland and tasteless. It's as if they were styled after Janet Reno. The salsa was watery and too reliant on cilantro, and the chips needed a lot more salt. Even after I salted the chips like an iced-over roadway, they still tasted pathetic.
Next out came a scoop of guac atop shredded lettuce, and some queso atop a tostada shell. Say what? I understand the "flat" part of that description now, but this was just laughable. Most places will give you a ramekin or taco bowl filled with queso. This was a scant helping of Velveeta-Rotel queso grazed over the tostada shell. And to *top* it off, the tostada shell was stale. The queso was bland, of course, so I tried to jazz it up with some lettuce. I know that sounds weird, but it helped. I couldn't eat the guac because I'm allergic to avocados, so don't gimme that look.
Here comes the rest of my meal. I tried the taco first, and what a disappointment. Blandest taco meat I've ever eaten, I tell you. There was absolutely no spice in there at all. I think that's the theme here. They should advertise that way: "Are you boring and without sinus troubles? Jardin Corona serves Austin's *blandest* Tex-Mex. Stop in today!" I'd bet a lot of geriatrics would eat there. In fact, there were quite a few old white people in the restaurant when I was there. One old couple was awaiting family members for the old man's birthday party. I wondered if they'd eaten there before. I felt really badly for them, knowing what they were in for.
Also, there were onions in the taco meat. Gross. I ate about half the taco and discarded the rest on my "flat" queso plate. Next up, the beef chalupa. I didn't realize "chalupa" and "tostada" are synonymous, but apparently they are. I knew what to expect in the taco meat, but I didn't let that stop me from trying to enjoy the tostada... ahem, chalupa. Problem was, the chile con carne from the enchiladas had enveloped the tostada/chalupa shell and thus made the shell bow, and most of the toppings fell off when I tried to pick it up. I took a couple of bites but was met with another stale shell, so I gave up on that and loaded it onto my discard plate.
The rice had carrots in it. WTF? I don't think I've ever seen that before. I like carrots, but not when I'm eating Mexican food, so I ate around those. Meh. The refried beans were okay, but not great. They were actually the best things in the entire meal.
The enchiladas... oh holy hell, these were bad. The cheese itself tasted fine ('cause how can you mess up cheese?), but something was really off about the dish in its entirety. I finally realized the cooks had used flour tortillas instead of corn. What kind of idiot uses flour tortillas for cheese enchiladas? It tasted awful! I had a few bites, but pushed my plate away in agony. I was so ready for the check.
Unfortunately, I would have to wait another twenty minutes to get out of the tenth level of hell that is Jardin Corona. My server had gone MIA again. Why do servers always go missing when you want the check? Why? Do they not want your money? I was tempted to walk the check, but my conscience wouldn't let me. Ten minutes later he ambled by and I got his attention. He had the check ready to go. I didn't even look at it to make sure I was charged correctly; I just gave him my credit card. It somehow took him another ten minutes to run my credit card. Impatient? Yes, I was. I'm lucky I wasn't on a lunch break from work. I would definitely have been late getting back to my desk, even if I worked next door. I'd also like to say that this server didn't once check on me during my meal to see if the food tasted okay. I ran out of water early on, but I never got a refill. Not that I needed a refill, as nothing from the salsa to the nightmarish enchiladas had any oomph to them.
You scored a big fat F from my taste buds, Jardin Corona. I almost can't wait to throw this up.