For the last three years, Yolanda’s has been chosen by Reporter readers as their favorite Mexican restaurant. I decided to see if the hype is justified.
I had never been, so I came with no expectations. Yolanda’s is surprisingly large, with a separate bar. The walls, featuring murals illustrated using brightly colored paints, give the interior a fun — if inauthentic — look. Our server took our drink and food order. She has worked there for three years and was courteous, sincere and attentive.
Yolanda’s boasts 11 different margaritas, including the Black Raspberry, made with Chambord. I wasn’t looking for something exotic, so I had the standard margarita, while my companion opted for the Midori. If beer is your thing, they offer 11 imports, such as Pacifico and Bohemia, and they have Dos Equis on draft. This isn’t a place for wine, and their miniscule list is not even worth looking at. Stick with what works: margaritas, beer and Mexican food.
The smells and sounds of fajitas sizzling on plates filled the room. Yolanda’s provides a salsa bar with seven different offerings. Our favorite was the tomatillo and the black salsa. A rich, smoky pepper is a great diversion from traditional salsa. Our entrees came with a standard salad, which was average, but the bleu cheese and ranch dressings were creamy and tasty. I would have preferred fresh ground pepper, but none was offered. In the distance, one of those cheesy birthday songs erupted, the wait staff trying to stay on key as best they could. I’m not a fan of musical Hallmark cards, but I applauded anyway.
My companion is something of a chile relleno fanatic, so she ordered that. This version came topped with grilled zucchini, which was a surprising — but nice — addition. Unfortunately, there were copious amounts of coating on the chile relleno, making it look larger than it was. Despite the coating, it was still good — not great, but better than average from the countless others she has had.
The Enchilada Vera Cruz caught my eye. Generous amounts of chicken filled the corn tortilla, which was topped with jack cheese, green onions, sour cream and a spicy green tomatillo sauce. Overall, the spicy sauce with the mild chicken and rice provided a great balance. It was very filling and quite good.
We ordered one of their two in-house desserts, the fried ice cream. Yolanda’s version takes a ball of vanilla ice cream, which is topped with caramel, pecans, whipped cream and cinnamon, and places it in a tostada-like flour tortilla that tastes like a churro. A very good dessert, but not enough for two people.
The dining experience isn’t just about the food; it’s the whole enchilada (sorry about the pun). The bathrooms were fairly clean, though they need to be checked up on occasionally.
Our bill for the above was only $37.25, a surprisingly low amount for good food and good service. I’ll be back.