Jekyll, meet Hyde. Last month, my friend and I ate at a Plaza Azteca in Kennett Square. It’s a small Mexican chain in Pennsylvania and other states on the east coast. As I detailed in my review, the food was good enough to get 4 out of 5 stars. I was, in fact, impressed with the experience. Now let’s get to a visit at one of their other locations in Plymouth Meeting this past weekend. What a difference 20 miles makes!
We waited 25 minutes for a table. The place was rocking on a Sunday night. They had a Mariachi band which wandered through the restaurant playing everything from Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” to that horrid, desperate “Margaritaville” rubbish— a song usually relegated to barbecues attended by white men over 60 festooned with tacky Hawaiian t-shirts masking the bulging beer belly that hangs over their cargo shorts. That being said, it was a lively restaurant and pleasant. But such pleasantness can only last so long before you want to rip your hair out to look balder than Yul Brynner.
After being seated, we did not place our order for another 20 minutes. Instead, the waitress stopped by three separate times to tell us she would, “Be right back”. Once she took our order, which consisted of two margaritas, a queso dip appetizer, and our two meals, she disappeared for what seemed like another 20 minutes. When she emerged, she placed our meals down on the table. There was only one problem: we had not yet received our appetizer…or even our drinks yet! I have eaten in hundreds of restaurants. Not once in my life did I ever get entrees served before the drinks came. After giving us the food, she had a dumbfounded look on her face that something was wrong. She then left to get our drinks which magically appeared within 30 seconds. We canceled the appetizer because it made no sense at that point.
Once again, the food was more than adequate. I had chicken chimichangas which were fried to a crisp and slathered in cheese sauce. Can’t go wrong there. He enjoyed his vegetarian quesadilla and enchilada combo. But what really did it for me was being four bites into my meal when the waitress came by to ask, “Would you guys like dessert?” All I remember is looking at her unable to speak, and not because I had food in my mouth. Somehow, the old adage, “Say nice things or nothing at all came to mind”, and I kept my mouth shut. My friend saved the day and said we were not sure yet.
In the end, we did not order dessert. Hell, I would have canceled the margaritas and settled for water if I could have. I felt like this was a robbery. The other location was excellent all around. This place was a train wreck heading towards a dumpster fire. Could it have been an off-night? Absolutely. Everyone has one of those. They were also quite busy, so I acknowledge that added craziness can fluster even the most experienced of servers. But this was a little bit more than that. I am very lenient with my reviews, often overlooking inadequacies and focusing on the positive aspects. This one left me at a loss for words. The service was sloppy bordering on flippant. There was zero coordination between the front of the house and back. I can say with conviction, I would never return to this location again. 2 out of 5 stars.
This Plaza Azteca is located at 351 Plymouth Road in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.