El Paraiso Bar and Grill

It’s been so long since I’ve posted. Sorry. We’ve been on a severe budget crunch. Greek austerity like. We paid a steep price moving to Cedar Rapids. It’s going to hurt financially for probably five years, but still, totally worth it.

So a rare dinner out while the kiddo is at gymnastics. Took the opportunity to try a new to us Mexican restaurant, El Paraiso Bar and Grill. And it was on our way to Aldi. When we arrived we were a little confused because even though there were quite a few cars in the parking lot, the neon beer lights were all off and the place looked closed. The big doors in front of us that looked like an entrance from the parking had a big sign that said Employee Entrance. We hesitated but then got off our lazy asses and walked to the side of the building. That’s where the front door was and yes they were open.

First impression was the place was HUGE. Most of the seating is in booths which is no bueno for us.When we asked for a table we were seated on the edge of a back section far away from the rest of the customers. This would prove problematic.

The menu was small but more like what we were used to seeing in Georgia but not like our previous excursions in Cedar Rapids to Los Compadres or Cancun Mexican Grill. There were a few new things to me though.Siete Mares, a seafood soup I have not seen before on a menu. Nor have I seen a ham and cheese quesadilla before, Quesadilla Sincronisadas. And there were no nacho plates listed on the menu which was a bummer for the wife.

The chips and salsa were meh. I would rate the salsa as weak, almost no spice. The wife ordered the Quesadilla El Paraiso which was a large quesadilla filled with chicken and chorizo with a fancy side of sour cream, lettuce and pico de gallo which looked like a mini taco salad. She raved about the quesadilla and was only able to eat half. She was excited about having it for lunch the next day with a side of their refried beans which she said were very good.

I ordered the Burrito Campechano, filled with steak and chorizo, and one beef hard shell taco. I’m still searching for that magical taco like Mi Ranchito had on Westnedge in Kalamazoo. This wasn’t it. The taco also serves as my side since I don’t eat the beans or rice. The burrito was quite salty, not inedible but still heavy. I thought maybe it was the chorizo but the wife didn’t notice it in her quesadilla. Probably just a heavy hand in the kitchen.

Unfortunately service was very inadequate though would not deter me from coming back again. I watched and the main section had at least four servers including ours. I think the problem was a function of being a Sunday, under staffing, and being seated in an out of sight section. It was a shame our server didn’t come to our table more often because I liked her, I mean REALLY liked her.persons-0006


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