Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Half-Assed Restaurant Review: No Way Jose Cafe

I had great intentions last night. Really. At the last minute, we met Jen and Bill and Sarah and Doug for a little Mexican action, at No Way Jose Cafe in Federal Hill. I fully planned to evaluate the restaurant objectively, possibly even pretending I don't naturally love it because it reminds me of my younger, heavily social days. I even remembered my camera.

Unfortunately, none of that panned out. My objectivity flew out the window when Jen and I walked in the door and the owner looked at her and said, "You're name's Jen, right? You used to hang out here." My observation skills didn't make it past five minutes at the table. And by the time I remembered I had a camera, we'd nearly finished eating.

Despite my lax reporting methods, I can say this: if you're looking for Mexican and you're in the Baltimore area, go to No Way Jose. It gets crowded on the weekends, yes. And parking in Federal Hill sucks all the time. Especially on game days. And no, it's not truly authentic Mexican (for that try Blue Agave). But No Way Jose has great chips and salsa, fantastic margaritas (though beware the Monster Margarita - it's $26) and perfectly decent cheese-laden food. Plus, everybody is super nice.

I had chicken enchiladas. Nothing fancy, but they were good. The menu does offer a handful of more interesting options, too, not just the standard Mexican fare. The chicken nachos, a favorite during the young and social days, are amazing. And the braised beef enchiladas are very tasty, and offer a tiny twist on the classic dish.

Verdict: Of course it was great. Of course I'll go back. I love it there. (How's that for objectivity?)

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