Friday, May 31, 2013

Nacho Mama's review: Another Orlando dive of a restaurant winner

If you can find it, and figure out how to get to it, Nacho Mama's is a great little out-of-the-way dive of a restaurant in the shadow of the Colonial Drive and 436 flyover in Orlando.

See that little bright green concrete block building with the broken sign, wobbly deck and rotting palm frond awning? There's a rusty metal lizard stuck to the front. That's it. Take a chance and step inside. Go on!

Charming, ain't it -- in a hole-in-the-wall, diamond-in-the-rough kinda way, right?

There's a certain charm to restaurant past its prime or new and thrown together on a shoe string. Whenever I take a chance on one of these babies, I always think first why the place is still open. Obviously, there was not much thought to location, the interior doesn't impress, and  I haven't seen any marketing cross my eyes. This is the kind of restaurant that survives, or thrives, on great food and warm, inviting service. Nacho Mama's certainly has both.

My guest and I started with the (surprise, surprise) Nachos ($9). The freshly-made corn tortillas were topped with a large amount of melted queso, chunks of white cheese, chopped tomatoes, lettuce and jalapenos, refried beans, sour cream and ground beef. It was quite a plateful and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

With both of us almost full from the nachos alone, we decided to just order a couple of tacos a la carte from the menu.

The Brisket taco ($4) was served in a flour tortilla and stuffed with shredded brisket, lettuce, cilantro and a white queso. The Shredded Pork taco ($2), Grilled White Fish ($3) and Grilled Shrimp ($3) were served in warm corn tortillas with cilantro and chopped onions. All the tacos were delicious, and we could have eaten several more at these prices. Unfortunately, the nachos did us in previously.

I had heard that service could be slow here, but our food arrived promptly and as ordered. Our server smelled like an ashtray, appropriate for the dive restaurant motif. A manager visited each table on my visit and mentioned that there's a lunch buffet Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 3 pm. I may just come back for a lunch time visit.

I love places like Nacho Mama's. With good food, big portions, good service and low prices, who cares what the place looks like or what the waitress smells like. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

4 Rolls of the Dice out of 5

Nacho Mama's on Urbanspoon

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