Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review - PURE Taqueria

Suffice it to say I was truly elated to hear about a new Mexican joint coming to my part of town. Its not very often we get a new restaurant that generates buzz out here in the Matthews/Indian Trail area, in fact I think this is the first time since moving here over a year ago that there has been ANY restaurant opening in this area that warranted a visit.

My first attempt was a failure. Apparently, the owners of PURE Taqueria (a concept that originated in Alpharetta, GA and has done well enough to expand to new markets) didn’t do their homework. As a market researcher by trade, it irks me that a restaurant could so blatantly miss their core market by not having high chairs. OK, they have ONE. When you go out to eat in Matthews, 9 out of 10 tables will have at least one little nugget with their party. We were told (quite unapologetically), there was a WAITING LIST for high chairs. That was a first for me. I had spent an hour perusing the menu online and I wanted ceviche and I wanted it then and there. I would have to wait.

To ensure my next visit would go a little more smoothly, I called the restaurant about 5 days ahead of time to make a reservation. FOR A HIGH CHAIR. Their mailbox was full. So I checked out their website and Open Table, to see if I could make a reservation that way (no such luck). I came across an email address, sent an email, and still haven’t heard back.

We arrived 30 minutes prior to when we actually wanted to eat in the hopes of procuring the ever evasive high chair. And we got the last one (or the only one). As we were led to our table, I saw about 4 parties coming in, all with children under 2. Good luck with that.

The waitress approached our table promptly with fresh chips and salsa, which were very good. However, it would be a long while before we would see her again. When she finally returned, I was quite excited to place my margarita order, as PURE touts its tequila reputation quite overtly. I was willing to forgive the high chair indiscretions given this restaurant is essentially marketed as a tequila joint (while my life is all about tequila and high chairs, not all will agree the two need to co-exist). I ordered a margarita with Patron Silver. I was told that my drink would be $18.95. Yes, $18.95. Apparently, all tequila is sold by the ounce, so essentially if you want to customize your tequila (and who wouldn’t given the stellar offerings of tequila available), you have to pay for the margarita (which is served with their “house” tequila), and also pay for the tequila. This was going nowhere fast. I settled on a Negro Modelo.

We ordered the much anticipated ceviche, and were very let down. I will take the blame for that one, and have accepted that only Peruvians should be held accountable for their ceviche. Not nearly enough lemon, way too many chopped veggies, just blah.

On to the tacos - our table ordered 4 variations – fish, shrimp, carne asada and pastor (pork). For the most part they were ok –a bit dry and bland, certainly missing any wow factor, just very middle of the road. However, there was one bright shining star in the lot – perhaps because it was the one with the least expectations. Shrimp tacos don't usually jump off the menu at me, but I am very glad that my husband insisted on trying them – they were redemption! Crispy, large shrimp served with poblano slaw, chipotle mayo, and cruda tomatillo salsa. I may venture back just for this dish.

There are other redeeming qualities – if you are ok with lowering your food expectations, this is actually a lovely place to hang out with friends. The d├ęcor is fresh, inviting and has a nice hipster high end surf town taco shop vibe. As long as you aren’t seated under an air vent, (we were dripped on all night and told there was nothing that could be done about it), the vibe is just right. The waitresses are all very young, cute and perhaps just inexperienced. The place is packed as long as its open, prices are very moderate (as long as you aren’t drinking tequila) so clearly it must be doing something right.

111 Matthews Station Street
Matthews, NC 28105
Open 11am to 11pm daily

PURE Taqueria on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Much to anyones surprise(?) this restaurant has now shut down! Hmmmmm, maybe they just couldn't get these short-comings through their heads!