Dining By The Alphabet: A – Abuelo’s

Welcome to the very first restaurant review for Wichita By E.B.

1413 North Waterfront Parkway
Wichita, KS 67206
(316) 634-2230

For the first installment into Dining By The Alphabet, we have chosen Abuelo’s for Letter A.

Go figure, the first place we decide to go to would not be a local establishment but yet a chain. Oh well, we wanted to try a place that was popular in Wichita and most places within the Waterfront seem to be that single criteria.

We arrived just a little before 7 pm and the place was busy. Day after Valentine’s Day, we figured wouldn’t be as busy. Wrong. Walking in you could see people waiting for tables, but when we went to the hostess she sat us right there. Could it be Abuelo’s received word they were going to be the first Restaurant to be Featured in Wichita By E.B’s “Dining By The Alphabet”? Or is the truth, they had tables for two but not larger groups. I’m leaning towards the latter but you never know.

Upon seating, our server came over and welcomed us to Abuelo’s. Very soft-spoken waitress. I’m not sure we could have heard her any better if she was speaking through a megaphone, but we won’t fault her for that whatsoever. We decided to order a side of guacamole. Figured that’d be a nice appetizer to go along with their complimentary chips and salsa. This is now a good time to probably let the world know an issue of mine. I’m lactose intolerant. So my choice of food can be severely limited depending on the amounts of cheese they put on their food. I can have small doses of it here and there but straight queso…..no no. There are pills I can take to allow me to eat dairy products but stupid me left them at home. So back to the app, guacamole was really the only choice to go. Ordered that, decided to pass on drinks for the evening.

The server comes back with our guacamole and chips. I wish I took a picture of it but for a little over $5, it was the smallest serving of guacamole I’ve seen at a restaurant. I’m pretty sure On The Border and Felipe’s give larger portions. Oh well. So we’re eating away at the guacamole with the chips. Guacamole is good. The chips are good. Not overly salty or greasy. But something seems to be missing: the salsa. The server comes back and we ask for salsa. She gives us the spacey “oh it slipped my mind” line. Could we be in for an adventure tonight?

We place our order in. I ordered one of the limited time menu items. Carne Asada a la Tampiquena. It was a big plate of wood grilled skirt steak served on a bed of onions, cheese enchilada, cheese quesadilla and fresh guacamole. Served with rice and charro beans. Wait, aren’t you lactose intolerant? Yes. So I substituted the cheese enchilada for an avocado enchilada to change it up. Kept the cheese quesadilla in case Tiffany wanted it. And since I’m not a big bean fan, I asked for all rice and no beans. Tiffany kept it simple. She went with the chicken enchilada and the spinach enchilada. The avocado and spinach enchilada intrigued us, so we just had to have it.

Carne Asada a la Tampiquena

So we wait. Wait. Wait. It takes a wee bit over 25 minutes for our order to come out. It was a busy night but unusually long for a Mexican restaurant for the food to come out. Could have been a mix of issues. I had a steak (cooked medium rare), nearly every table in the place was full, short-staffed. I don’t know. But I’ve always been of the thought that Mexican restaurants nuke their food and bring it out to you.

Eventually the food comes out and we dig in. Everything except the beans. They brought the beans out with my food and apologized and brought out more rice instead. We first tried the spinach enchilada. Quite tasty I must say. Avocado enchilada, eh…. it’s ok. I didn’t try the chicken enchilada but Tiffany’s face didn’t exactly spell out D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. The steak was alright. Cooked medium rare but wasn’t wonderful. I know, you’re not supposed to go to a Mexican restaurant and order a steak. I was craving one and thought an upscale Mexican restaurant may be able to wow me. (Sidenote: Do you go to a Bella Luna and order a steak? Usually no, but I’ve heard they have the best steak in Wichita from a few people). The rice was rice. I like all sorts of rice, so I’m not too picky there. Didn’t bother with the quesadilla, just boxed that up. We were pretty full early on into the dinner and asked for a couple boxes.

Two Enchiladas: Chicken and Spinach

If anybody knows of a training class on how to box food up properly, please let me know. I was informed Tuesday night, I pretty much box food like a five-year-old.

One thing I did notice is that our server was giving everybody bags for their leftovers. Literally. Everybody. Table behind us, next to us, adjacent from us, behind us, everywhere had bags. I felt so left out. I did kind of want a bag to carry it all out in case any grease or something leaked from the bottom in my car. So I asked for one. Literally the server took four trips until she got us a bag and apologized for it. With all due respect if you have to apologize more than twice to the same customer. Somethings wrong.

So we checked out and spent a little over $30 between the two of us. By no means unaffordable for the average consumer. Decently priced and the service seemed to be lacking a little. Quality of the food was literally just ok and on the verge of bland. I’m honestly not sure if we’ll ever make a return here.

We decided to keep the rating system simple and use a 5-star scale. Her score, My score. Divide by two. Simple and to the Point.

What did we end up on for Abuelos? 2 stars.

Plenty of better options out there for good Mexican food. Honestly Abuelo’s I think you’re just paying for the ambiance of the place and the fact that its located at The Waterfront.

So Letter A was a letdown. We’ll see what Letter B has in store for us. If any of you have suggestions on where to go for B, let it be known.

Happy Dining,

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