Are There Good Fajitas?

fajitassuck0527.jpg
Ian Froeb
What am I missing?
Recently, as I sometimes do, I drove a major thoroughfare until I saw a restaurant where I've never eaten. Which is how I ended up having lunch at an unnamed Mexican restaurant in a strip mall. (Why I'm not naming the restaurant should become clear shortly.)

As most Mexican restaurants have multiple lunch specials, I figured I could at least evaluate a meal for our Lunch Bucket List feature. I ordered a lunch portion of the fajitas -- smaller and not served on the usual sizzling cast-iron platter.

They sucked.

There was no flavor to the meat or vegetables except the char from their cooking. Only a healthy dose of habanero hot sauce made them palatable.

Oh, well. I took a chance on an unfamiliar restaurant, and it didn't pay off. It happens a lot in this line of work.

Except, as I thought about it, the fault was mine, not the restaurant's. I couldn't remember an occasion when I wasn't disappointed by fajitas. In fact, I feel confident in saying that fajitas are the most consistently disappointing meal in the universe.

I'm not talking about St. Louis exclusively, either. I've eaten fajitas in Texas, at restaurants that were true Tex-Mex, rather than the Mexican/Tex-Mex hybrids we have here, and I wasn't blown away then, either.

So I seek your help, friends. Sincerely, I do: What is the secret to good fajitas? Seasoning and/or marinade? Do good fajitas, in fact, exist? If so, where?

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13 comments
PetCareRx Reviews
PetCareRx Reviews

We have been eating at Ernestos since 1982. We usually eat there at least twice in one week! Their fajitas are the BEST!!!

Amanda234
Amanda234

I don't go to a restaurant to assemble my own food, I can do that from home. That being said, I will eat a shrimp fajita from time to time, beef fajitas are always bad for me.

Rick
Rick

Lily's on Kingshighway & Devonshire has great fajita's.

your mom's mom
your mom's mom

Why wouldn't you name a restaurant that sucked?  People need to know where the bad places are as well as the good.  You're way too lenient on reviews and don't call out restaurants on their bad food.

Mike N.
Mike N.

Gotta agree with the above comments -- fajitas I make at home are better than those I've had out, for the most part (and I'm no great chef).  Oddly enough, some of the most memorably tasty fajitas I've had was at a swanky University function served buffet-style.  I think sitting in the chafing dish over sterno actually helps the flavors come out.  (plus I just love sterno).

Jim
Jim

Nachomama's makes a pretty good fajita, probably because their salsa makes everything good, but I think the problems are many-fold.  (1) They're usually expensive, so expectations are high; (2) It's grilled meat and veggies with condiments, there's just not much to them; and (3) assembling your own food sucks.

JM
JM

The only good fajitas I have ever had are the ones I make at home.  In mexican restaurants I stick to tacos.

Rebecca.Lozano23@gmail.com
Rebecca.Lozano23@gmail.com

Marinating skirt steak or chicken in mexican beer, then seasoning them with authentic fajita seasoning from a mexican grocery store, then grilling them on open flame. These are true fajitas, the others are just bastardized. Homemade tortillas make a world of difference too

Wade Durbin
Wade Durbin

I second that. But really, Lily's does almost everything right.

IanFroeb
IanFroeb

Because the point of this post wasn't that *these* fajitas suck, but that 99 times out of 100 fajitas suck, and I was honestly curious why. I didn't feel it was necessary to make an example out of this restaurant when I could have written it after dining any number of other places, some of which, overall, don't suck.

Fortunately, other readers understood this and have offered insightful comments here and via Twitter.

But, as always, Grandma, thanks for providing page views to this free, non-mandatory reading!

Dan D.
Dan D.

I second this.  I believe I've had them at Nachomama's, when I am trying to watch what I eat (which isn't often).  Assembling food sucks, but controlling what you eat doesn't.

your mom's mom
your mom's mom

I provide most of my page views to Yelp, which contain better and more honest reviews than the slop you're paid for.

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