Mexicali Grill, Santa Clara, CA

Ok, um..huh. Where to start with my recent experience at Mexicali grill? The best I can say about it is that it wasn’t *all* bad. There were a couple of random highlights. But overall, it wasn’t good. In fact, it was all kinds of nacho wrong.

First of all, I’ll let this picture speak for itself. Let me pause here for effect. ….  You see the problem with this plate of nachos, don’t you, my nacho loving peeps?

Mexicali grill

Mexicali grill nachos

My jaw literally dropped when this plate was delivered to my table, and not in a good way. For a minute, I thought it was a dessert order intended for another table that was mistakenly placed in front of me. No, sadly, it was my nacho order.

What exactly is going on here? Puffed dollops of sour cream? Really, Mexicali? Really? Now, that alone is enough of a nacho offense that I was put off immediately. But then I took note of the chip to sour cream ratio and that didn’t help matters much. It was almost 1:1 – a poof ball of sour cream topping every chip. Who on earth would enjoy this much sour cream? It’s complete absurdity!

Look folks, nachos are meant to be messy. They are meant to be stacked, piled, drizzled, dripping. They are not meant to be structured and neat and cute.

Ok, now in fairness to Mexicali, and to turn this review around for a bit, let my deliver some well-deserved praise for a couple of things:

1) I placed my usual order with a special request for “no meat”. As soon as the server heard this, he notified me that the refried beans typically served on the nachos were cooked with chorizo so if I’m vegetarian, he can offer me whole pinto beans instead. Yes, please!! Thank you, thank you, Mexicali grill for this.

2) These nachos had Cotija cheese sprinkled on top. For those unfamiliar, Cotija is a hard cow’s milk cheese that originated in Mexico. And it’s pretty awesome. It gave the nachos a wonderful aroma and speaking purely olfactorily, I was impressed. Which was great because they needed something positive to offset their visual offensiveness. Ok, that’s a bit harsh, but I know you’re with me here.

So I know you must now be asking yourself, perhaps even uttering out loud, “but how did they *taste*?”. Here is a plate of nachos that looks horrible but smells great. Let’s let the taste be the tiebreaker. Well, I’m sorry Mexicali, but the taste just didn’t do it for me. The flavor was ok, but nothing special. It certainly didn’t live up to the amazing smell. And it certainly didn’t make up for the dollop insanity.

In summation: These nachos were all show and therefore I’m afraid I have to advise a no-go for Mexicali grill. I mean, c’mon, it’s a fluff nacho. And I’m a substance nacho kind of girl. As such, I can sadly only give these 1 lonely smiling nacho. (Poor thing! Just look at him. All alone, with no friends.)

And, as a final piece of evidence, let me present a second photo. You, my faithful readers, know that I rarely leave a nacho plate anything other than empty. This was a first for me: I didn’t eat any more than I needed to in order to assess these nachos for review purposes. Need I say more?

Mexicali grill finish

And... I'm done.

Mexicali Grill, 3149 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA 95054