Party’s Over: New Mexican Restaurant Disappoints

Viva La Fiesta Replaces Catrina's

Lauren Johnson, Staff Writer

If you love Mexican food and happen to live in Edwardsville, you are probably aware that the beloved Catrina’s on 157 closed its doors in November. Not to worry, Edwardsville is not actually down a Mexican hub. Coincidentally, a new one occupies its same location. But the replacement? It ain’t no Catrina’s. Está “Viva La Fiesta.”

As with any Mexican restaurant, a complimentary basket of tortilla chips and cauldron of salsa were presented before us as we were first seated. Unfortunately, it was only because I was famished that I dove into the chips. There was a certain bitterness to them—and I suspect rancid cooking oil was the culprit.

I asked our server if  there seemed to be a “house favorite” in the few weeks that they’ve been open. She informed me that “Beach on the Chicken” was always in high-demand. The dish is comprised of grilled chicken on bed of rice ($10.99 with added vegetables) and finished off in a volcano of melted cheese. So I decided to give this a try.

Before handing over my menu, I skimmed over the prices of the dishes. For Mexican food, everything seemed to be appropriately priced. Even the Seafood Molcajete, the most expensive item on the menu, was an understandable $19.99.

After a good 25-minute wait, our food came out on colorful, heated plates. Obviously the heat didn’t transfer to the food as my dad’s tamale was near cold. The wheat tortillas that accompanied my dish were crispy–perhaps they spent too much time in the press…

My plate was quite messy, but overall tasty. The rice, in both my dad’s and my own meal, was a grease bucket. I did not end up taking my leftovers home. And coming from me, that’s saying a lot.

From an unusually long wait to greasy food, this restaurant seems to have some major kinks to work out. A restaurant’s first months, even weeks, of business are often its most important. I will say that I’ve had mediocre food at many Mexican restaurants, but I’ve never had a problem with my food until now. Let’s hope they get their crap together.