Chew on this: Local restaurant reviews

design: Lily Clark

The search for a restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food in the local area has been a bit challenging over the past few years. While there are plenty of restaurants that brand themselves as serving Mexican cuisine, their food is often “Tex-Mex” inspired. However, Los Guachos Taqueria might just be one of the few exceptions.

While there are a few different locations, senior Matt Hopkins and I decided to go to the one located on Sawmill Road, as that is their most popular. Immediately from the location, one can tell that this is a very casual restaurant. A large sign reading ‘Los Guachos’ in bold letters is displayed above the entrance, standing out from the surrounding stores.

As soon as one walks in through the doors, the restaurant presents its Mexican culture. Latin music can be heard playing in the background, as TVs placed throughout the restaurant display local Latin channels. It is not a typical sit-down restaurant with waiter service. Rather, customers must go up to the counter to place their order, seat themselves at a table and wait for their name to be called.

We ordered three tacos “al Pastor” (pork), three steak tacos and three “suadero” (beef brisket) tacos. For drinks, we ordered hibiscus water and a “Jarrito”, a type of Mexican soda. The whole order came to a total of just over $30. The restaurant was not very busy, likely due to the fact that we went in for lunch on an early Sunday afternoon. Because of this, our order was ready within 10 quick minutes.

Someone from the United States who is not familiar with traditional Mexican food may be surprised when receiving their food. Mexican food here tends to be more “Tex-Mex”, for example, having tacos with hard shells. However, the food served at Los Guachos is some of the most authentic Mexican food I have been served by a restaurant in the United States.

The tacos were a decent size and were served with plenty of meat, cilantro and onion. The tortillas were served very warm, which is something that many restaurants often fail to do. Every type of taco was very enjoyable. However, the steak tacos felt a little bland when compared to the two other types.

As far as drinks go, the Mexican soda tasted similar to a regular soda bought anywhere in America, but it was still very good. The hibiscus water had a very strong taste to it, which made it hard to continuously drink without needing to take a break. Despite this, it was very good and I would order it again.

Los Guachos is a local restaurant I would definitely recommend trying, especially if people are looking for high quality, authentic Mexican food. However, there was one small downside: the price. Paying over $30 for what was ordered felt like a little too much. Despite this, I think the actual food and restaurant are completely worth going to and trying out, leading me to give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The vibrant array of lights greets customers along with the echoing voices and laughter of exuberant guests. As said in the name, Kitchen Social is the lively restaurant and bar made for homecoming parties and Friday nights out. The Columbus-based store opened only three years ago, and business has been booming ever since.

Senior Max Bass, senior Varsha Venkateshwaran and I were welcomed by cordial hosts who quickly attended to us. We booked the reservation last minute on a Friday night; even with the place being packed to the brim, we were sat down within just 10 minutes.

Our table, however, was small and extremely cramped for a group of three. About an arm’s length in diameter, the cups and silverware alone made the table feel full. In the midst of a pandemic, being a few feet away from multiple other tables was uncomfortable.

After surveying the diverse yet simple menu, we started our order with the Cheddar + Scallion Biscuits appetizer.

While considered a staple of the restaurant, the flavors were disappointing and lackluster: the butter was sweet and, combined with the bland, fluffy biscuit, the butter’s flavor overpowered the overall experience. In comparison to the free Cheddar Bay Biscuits at Red Lobster, these were a letdown, especially when considering the $6 price point for only five biscuits.

Once the main courses arrived, I first tried the $14 Double Stack Burger. The beef patties were cooked perfectly and had an ideal tender texture, along with the melting of the American cheese. While thin, the two patties were just enough to fill me up along with the fluffy brioche bun.

The tomatoes, though, were unripe and didn’t add a freshness to the burger that I hoped for, along with the lettuce. Overall, it was a good burger, but not one I would call my favorite.

The next meal that I tried was the Szechuan Noodles, also at $14. The large and colorful mixture of vegetables and sauce gave a very appetizing appearance.

The spicy szechuan sauce was a tangy, salty and slightly spicy mixture that paired well with the Udon noodles and chewy pieces of grilled chicken. While the vegetables added an extra flavor with the dish, the pieces were very uneven, with large mushroom and chile pieces that were unappetizing next to the food. All in all, this was my favorite dish, and I’d highly recommend getting it.

Finally, we had the Warm Chocolate Cake that costed $6. The cake was soft and combined well with the sweet chocolate sauce and the gooey salted caramel. The cold vanilla ice cream was high quality and paired well with the warm cake. Every ingredient worked well together and was a great way to end off the night.

Kitchen Social’s popularity is obvious just from walking in, but while the food was good, the price points led me to believe in an even better experience. Part of this could’ve been because of the mass amount of people crowding the restaurant, but I still feel I didn’t receive what I paid for. All in all, I would give Kitchen Social three out of five stars.