El Portal – Yucutan Cuisine

So D and I eat WAY too much Mexcian food. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we’re both Mexican? You’d think we’d get sick of it, but somethings are just too good to get sick of. Regardless, we decided to go to El Portal for dinner.

Don’t quote me on this because I’m not positive, but I think that the owners or something of the restaurant are also members of my church, or they had kids who went to the same associated parochial school I did or something. I say this because I have vague memories of them doing some special fundraising thing for the school every year. But I could be completely crazy.

Anyway, El Portal is famous for Yucutan style cuisine the way Guelaguetza is for Oaxacan food. We got there and sat down and ordered a couple of large Cadillac Margaritas. Yum! Pretty good, and I’m picky about margaritas ever since I worked at Marix. (Working in a certified tequila bar will make you picky about all things tequila.)

As we were drinking our margaritas, there was a couple with a guitar serenading people at their tables, taking requests. They came over to us, and D being the romantic that he is, requested, “Si Nos Dejan.” If you’re curious about the song, here is Luis Miguel singing the song:

I figured since we were there, I would go for the signature foods and ordered the Yucatan Trio: “A portion of Cochinita Pibil, one yucatan style tamale of chicken and grilled Poc-chuc. Served with picked onion, rice, black beans soup and tortillas” The best thing on the plate was the Poc-chuc. DELICIOSO! The tamale was pretty good too, but the cochinita pibil was only so so.

D ordered the Camarones con Tocino: “Jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon & lightly fried to crisp. Served around a ring of rice pinto beans, pico de gallo & guacamole.” Doesn’t that sound amazingly delicious? Unfortunately it was kind of dissapointing. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as amazing as we hoped for it to be. I think the shrimp were overcooked – they had that rubbery quality.

We ordered the bread pudding for dessert because it sounded delicious. And I got so excited when it came, I forgot to take a picture. It was good, just REALLY rich. We couldn’t finish it.

My reccomendation? I’d come here for the ambiance mainly. The food – at least what we ordered- is kind of dissapointing. But the drinks and the service were excellent! I’d give the food another try if I went back, but I think that it’s not a good sign when your house specialties are not so good.

El Portal on Urbanspoon

695 E Green St
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 795-8553

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