It takes moxie and panache to name your restaurant after a well-known dish.
I love fajitas, so, despite badly wanting to go to Fox and Hounds because I thought the experience would be so much fun for our little group of diners, I was excited to try Michelle’s pick, Fajitas Grill.
On the steamy final Thursday in June, we made our way down to a restaurant on Farwell Avenue for the second month in a row and the third time since we started this quest.
I swear we almost walked right past the place, the unassuming facade gave way to an aggressively modern, bright room that couldn’t have had more than 10 tables. Shannon said:
The decor looked as if it should be on Milwaukee Street conjoined with Kenadees. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.
If you’ve never been to Kenadees or Milwaukee Street, here is what Cindi said:
I was too young to experience nightclubs in the 90s but I’m pretty sure this place was one. The decor was outdated and the white booths were kind of falling apart. I felt like I was sitting on a marshmallow that had rolled on a dirty floor.
Hopefully the food would be better.
Appetizers & Drinks
Like all Mexican places worth their salt, Fajitas Grill provided free chips and salsa. The twist here, they were plantain chips, which turned out to be pretty tasty.
As we reviewed the menu, several of us enjoyed margaritas and mojitas. Shannon said:
It was surprising to see a lot more on the menu than just fajitas. The pineapple mojita hit the spot on the 186 degree day.
A big plus for this place was from the second we walked into the door, the staff was attentive, courteous and friendly. I ordered a Dos Equis because that is what the most interesting man in the world drinks and we also made a group decision to order the guacamole.
There were problems. TJ said:
The guacamole was good, but the experience was hurt by the chips. They tasted fine but they weren’t shaped for dipping.
I’d concur, I broke a chip every time I tried to scoop, but that wasn’t it… Cindi said:
I loved the plantains, guacamole, salsa, and chips–which were made fresh to order! I was disappointed because, unlike a typical mexican restaurant, they didn’t refill the salsa, chips or plantains. We had ordered our guacamole to share and ran out of chips. I asked for more, assuming they were free, and we were charged for them.
The Main Course
The food came reasonably quickly and since it was after 8, we were all rather hungry. Michelle said:
I ordered the sopes, and I really enjoyed my food. I’ve never ordered these before and would definitely try them at another restaurant.
Sopes are basically thick tortillas made with fried masa, topped with veggies, meat, cheese and salsa.
Cindi had nachos and tortilla soup. She said:
The tortilla soup was good but a little too brothy. There was not much in the soup except for a few tortilla straws. I ordered the nachos because they had goat cheese on them. I thought that was unique. They were good but, unlike the guacamole, I was left with a lot of extra chips. This place needs to figure out their chip-to-dip ratio. I was confused by the massive amount of onion chunks thrown on top.
Shannon ordered chicken tacos. She said:
Although my meal looked pretty, it was very standard tasting. Actually, it was rather lack-luster with an overload on onions.
TJ had spent all day working in the heat and wasn’t too hungry for a big meal. He said:
I ordered the quesadilla with sautéed mushrooms. Let’s be honest though, it’s pretty hard to screw that up. The mushrooms were fresh though, so I give that to them.
Adam ordered chorizo tacos. He said:
They were decent, nothing great.
That is right, no one ordered fajitas… at Fajitas Grill. Leave this one to your fearless narrator!
Like I said before, I love fajitas and I was eager to try them at a place that was essentially named for them. Though tempting, I decided not to add bacon to the fajitas for a couple bucks (a unique option), and I have to say, they were just so/so.
They tasted alright, standard. They came out sizzling and had all of the veggies you would expect–onions, assorted peppers and tomatoes. My aunt/godmother Lori made fajitas a few days later and they were tastier. I just expected something more unique, a flavor that was more nuanced or developed. I expected secret ingredients, unexpected vegetables or a special, confidential family recipe passed down through generations.
I guess I just think if the place has fajitas in the name, the fajitas should blow your mind. They didn’t. Sadly.
We were all so full that none of us were really up for dessert. Michelle said:
I wish I wouldn’t have been too full to order the berries and cream that everyone at the other tables seemed to be enjoying.
I guess the fact that the meal was just alright is why none of us were surprised when Shannon found out a few days after our visit that Fajitas Grill was closed and is slated to reopen at a new location in August. Cindi said:
If I had to describe the food in one word I would say it was “fine.” Milwaukee is home to so many fantastic Mexican restaurants. Id recommend Cempazuchi’s, Botanas or Guanajuato’s for great Mexican.
Overall, the experience wasn’t that good or bad. Not a very memorable “F”. I don’t think I’ll be trying the new location with so many other good places to choose from. This one doesn’t stand out.
Ratings for Fajitas Grill were, as follows:
Fajitas Grill cumulative rating: 5.25
Nevertheless, Cindi summed it up nicely. She said:
Regardless of our dining experiences, it is hard to give anything a negative review because I am always so pleased with the company. The great thing about doing this quest is that we most definitely will encounter some lackluster restaurants. But we do it together and that always overshadows the food.
Nightcap: Boone & Crockett
We decided to head to Boone & Crockett in Bay View, the new place opened up by the owners of Hotel Foster. We had to celebrate Cindi’s new job with her on a night where they had a babysitter.
If you squint when you are at Boone and Crockett, you could be back in the 1800s, order a few things off the drink menu to enhance the illusion.
I stuck with beer, after all, it was a work night. But as the air conditioning hummed and those last cool amber drops ran down my throat, surrounded by my friends, I smiled.
Average restaurants be damned.
It is summer in Milwaukee and life is beautiful.
Visit Fajitas Grill online at www.fajitasgrillmilwaukee.com
Visit Boone & Crockett online at www.booneandcrockettmke.com
Photos courtesy of TJ UTTKE PHOTOGRAPHY
Losing nominations for ‘F’ were Fox and Hounds (Nick x2 and Cindi), 4th Base (TJ), Firefly (Shannon) and Fuel Cafe (Adam).