I discovered that my father has a skill beyond his ability to keep a recliner pinned to the floor. Apparently over the years, he has developed a Mexican restaurant quality barometer.
He goes to a lot of Mexican restaurants. And he orders the same thing: a combination platter of a taco, an enchilada and a chile relleno.
An elegant way to compare and contrast the limited offerings of the limitless Mexican restaurants.
At Jalisco Grill Mexican Restaurant, the needle hovered on the low side. He didn't think their combination platter compared well with other Mexican restaurants.
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He noticed something the rest of us - my wife, my mother and I - missed. The waiter who brought the dishes out wasn't using pot holders and was even carrying some of the dishes balanced on his bare arms. Those plates weren't hot.
But this fact says more for my father's still keen powers of observation than it does for the quality of the food. "The plates are hot" is something you are practically hardwired into expecting to hear at a Mexican restaurant (I have a couple of friends named Mike and Candy Billips who say they plan to open a Mexican restaurant one day named Los Platos Estan Calientes, Spanish for "The Plates Are Hot.")
But the food can be hot even if the plates aren't, natch! It might be that they don't stick the pre-made combination choices on a plate together and zap them in a microwave. I hold out that option because my food was plenty hot, even though my dad's wasn't.
I had something called a sincronizada. I'd never had one before (I ordered it because I don't ever remember seeing it on any other menu), and it was very good. It's a grilled tortilla sandwich dripping with ham and cheese and a delicious sauce.
I also had an order of tacos. They were memorable for the spicy meat, much spicier than I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant. The same meat seemed to be in the Special Burritos dish that my wife ordered and I sampled. I compliment Jalisco on this spicy ground beef. It's a winner.
And so is the spicy salsa they serve with the chips. I can't say the same for the guacamole we ordered, however. It was soupy and nearly tasteless.
My mom had a taco salad that she didn't particularly care for, though I found the shell nicely flaky.
So it was a split decision on Jalisco. Some good stuff. Some stuff that could be improved on - or avoided.
Jalisco Grill Mexican Restaurant
2907 Watson Blvd., Warner Robins
Two and a half stars
Phone: (478) 953-1336
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Price range: Around $7 to $15
Payment: Cash, credit card, debit card
Kids menu: Yes
Noise level: Quiet
Latest health rating: 95
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
To contact writer Randy Waters, call 744-4240.