Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hacienda Colorado, Littleton

It was cold, it was raining, it was late, we were tired, we were very hungry.

These are the reasons we tried Hacienda Colorado in Littleton. Not to mention the other places we tried to get into first had a 75 to 85 minute wait. Did I mention we were hungry?

With only a 40 minute wait we found seats at the bar, a more civilized way to pass the time. The bar menu was tequila heavy, as one might expect in a Mexican restaurant, but they still advertised a "top shelf" mojito that was very good indeed. My husband had a Negro Modelo - they also had a reasonable list of Mexican beers.

The server in the bar brought us chips, salsa, water, our drinks, and our check in rapid succession. She checked back often to see if we were ok, and kept the chips and salsa coming. (They're complimentary at Hacienda Colorado.) From her attentive service I figured we might have stumbled on to a decent restaurant.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. We were seated on the patio (this is in March in Colorado) which was enclosed with some flimsy plastic sheets anchored with sandbags (lovely decor). Even though the patio was heated, every time the door to the main building opened a rush of cold air swirled around our legs.

Worse, the lighting out there was non-existent.There were overhead light fixtures, at least 12 feet up, and with maybe 20 watt bulbs in them. There was not enough light to read the menu. Period. Management obviously knew this was a problem because they had a flashlight for patrons to borrow.

In retrospect, this is the point where I should have called it and said we need either a better table or we'll find somewhere else to eat. Knowing that all the other tables in the place were full I'm fairly sure we would have had to take option 2, and I did mention we were hungry. Hungry to the point where I was feeling the blood sugar drop and starting to feel awful.

So I took the flashlight, read the menu, and ordered the barbacoa burrito. My husband took the waiter's suggestion and ordered the Baja camarones.

Half an hour later, we were on our fourth serving of chips and salsa, and wondering just where our entrees were. The waiter said "oh, I forgot to mention the Baja camarones take longer". Thanks, buddy. Lots.

The entrees eventually arrived, and the Baja camarones were pretty good - shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapenos and wrapped in bacon. They came with a lemon butter sauce and pico de gallo, and a side of the worst beans either of us had tasted in a long time - flavorless but with a nasty aftertaste.

My burrito was, to put it bluntly, lousy. It was stuffed mostly with more of those awful beans, the shredded beef barbacoa was an afterthought, all rolled in a gummy tortilla. The pork green chile sauce on top didn't have any pork in it as far as I could tell, and if there was queso in or on the burrito I didn't see it - the waiter had removed the flashlight at that point so we were more or less eating in the dark.

Our server had given his spiel earlier in the evening about how everything was made from scratch in house - frankly, if this is the best they can do, I would suggest they call Sysco for some frozen entrees and raise the quality of their food.

Frankly, this place ranks as one of the worst places we've eaten in a very long time. The food is overpriced, service is slow, and we were seated in an area that simply should not have been in use at all at this time of year. No, we won't be going back.

Date of visit: 3/10/2007


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