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Puerto Escondido

Puerto EscondidoUpdate 3/24/12: This space is now Punta Cana.
Update 2/23/12: Puerto Escondido is closed.

In a word: Don't spend your furlough here.

The specs: #0690  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Yahoo! Travel, Examiner, Ruppert Food Blog; listing at Eat Drink MadisonPuerto Escondido on Urbanspoon

Latest Puerto Escondido news and reviews


Andrea ate the tostada.
Dana ate the quesadilla.
JM ate two enchiladas.
John ate the chicken torta and an horchata.
Kami ate the chimichanga.
Katie ate the quesadilla.
Kim ate the taco salad.
Liz ate the quesadilla.
Nichole ate the chorizo sope and an horchata.
Saverio ate the enchiladas.
The bill was about $8/person, plus tip.
JM, Kami, and Liz gave Puerto Escondido a B-; John gave Puerto Escondido a C+; Andrea and Katie gave Puerto Escondido a C; Dana and Nichole gave Puerto Escondido a D+ (see our grading rubric).

Puerto Escondido is located next to Selective Video just off Todd Drive.  We were hoping it would be a great little gem that JM's co-workers would enjoy for his birthday lunch (previous outings: Rocky's, Olive Garden, Five Guys, Granite City, Flaming Wok, Copper Top). It was not to be.

The first thing you notice about PE is, unfortunately, a smell. This place used to be a Chinese restaurant and there is a indoor water feature that seems to have invited some mold along with it. In addition, there's no host, which, when coupled with dance floor emptiness, led us (and a takeout customer we observed) to believe the place was abandoned at first. That said, there are some lovely windows and lots of healthy foliage on one side of the otherwise dim dining room.

Chips and salsa, horchataTaco

The second thing we found was that they could not support a group of our size easily. Three booths (yes, booths) were strung together to make a table for our party of nine. Fortunately, there was a large dance floor that booths could be dragged into. Indeed, it seems as if PE's food is there to support its Latin nightclub aspect, though we have no corroboration for this hunch other than the presence of a low stage and disco lights.

The menu itself resembles Taqueria Marimar's in layout if not in content. Ordering was not a smooth process, and the service was sllllooooooooww and even then not steady enough to win the race.  At least two orders were incorrect and the food came out in widely-spaced waves.


Onto the food. Sadly there wasn't much that grabbed anyone. The chicken enchilada was probably best in show and even that was barely fine; the taco salad was satisfying and colorful, but the sour cream provided with it was watery but also in too short supply. The torta was large but got soggy by the end. The most commonly used words to describe the food were "OK" and "plain." The horchata was pretty good.

Taco saladSope

There were just too many impediments to enjoying the place fully, though it did have nice chips and salsa and really really low prices.  Had the food or service been a little better, we could have seen it as a quaint dive with some great stuff hidden on the menu. But with the spotty service and the odd ambience, it was hard to overcome the negatives.


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