By Edd and Cynthia Staton
Looking for a dining spot with good food, affordable prices, and a fun atmosphere? The brightly colored flags flapping over the street side courtyard of El Jalepeño, a new Mexican restaurant on Av. Paucarbamba — in the former location of Roux — are a clue that you’ve arrived at the right place.
So come inside and join the party! Grab a table in one of the two small dining rooms, the bar, or the garden area out back. The interior is smartly decorated with custom “Day of the Dead” wallpaper, cheerful tablecloths, and edgy artwork. The rear al fresco dining space features a quiet, welcoming atmosphere.
Alain Cruz, El Jalepeño’s owner, has brought to Cuenca his family’s special recipes. “My mother owned a restaurant in Mexico for many years. To keep everything authentic, I import many of the ingredients for my dishes.”
Start with a bowl of very good guacamole (with a margarita, of course). Or try other traditional appetizers like quesadillas or loaded nachos. Want a more adventurous choice? Go for the “torta de pierna” with ham, chorizo, beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeños.
When it comes to the main course, be aware that at El Jalapeño the portion sizes are generous. If three enchiladas (choice of meat and either red, green, cheese, or mole sauce) don’t fill you up, the enormous burrito stuffed with meat, rice, and beans absolutely will.
If you’re looking for Mexican standards — burritos, tacos, and tostadas, etc. — El Jalapeño has them all. And be sure to try the chicken mole. The sauce includes 24 ingredients and takes three days to make. It’s absolutely delicious!
If you want more spice the friendly bilingual staff will gladly bring you a small bowl of hot sauce. Warning — the stuff is atomic so taste first before slathering it all over your meal.
At El Jalapeño your Mexican fiesta certainly won’t break the bank, since hardly anything on the menu is over $10. On Wednesday and Thursday the restaurant has a $3.50 almuerzo that is an excellent value. And dinner drink specials include 2×1 Cuba Libre’s on Wednesday, margaritas on Thursday, and micheladas on Friday.
Come to El Jalapeño ready to have a good time. Smiling faces, quick and attentive service, tasty, inexpensive Mexican cuisine — it’s a combination that can’t be beat!
El Jalapeño is located at Av. Paucarbamba 4-114.
Wed: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Thu: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm