Lackluster Lunch at El Mariachi Loco

We've been making regular drives lately to the Humble/Kingwood area and have been excited to start chipping away at the local restaurant offerings. In the neighborhood at lunchtime last week, we unfortunately picked a lackluster place to start.

El Mariachi Loco in downtown Humble, within sight of U.S. 59 and surrounded mainly by boxy Humble government buildings, is one of those places that stacks three layers of huge words on its sign, plugging its food and listing some of the dishes to be found inside.

As if printing the menu on the building will make people cave and say "Okay, gosh, I guess they're really serving Mexican fare. We'd better go in." The ambience wasn't bad --old wood, nice colors, relaxed staff. But we were concerned when the waitress recommended the No. 12 lunch special, a standard chicken fajita. We glanced through the offerings for something a little more inventive but didn't see anything, so we acquiesced. Bad move.

The chicken was tender enough and not necessarily flavorless, and the lettuce wasn't wilted, but it was impressively mediocre, if that's a viable word combination. The rice and beans had absolutely no flavor -- they were strictly textures. It was a bit of a curiosity, really. We kept taking bites, searching, but there was just nothing there.

The salsa that came with the chips wasn't necessarily bad. It just tasted like a smoky chili sauce and not a salsa. As for the price, $7.99 isn't awful, but you could do far, far better for the same plate. If you're curious, the address is 51 W. Main St. in Humble.

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