Date Night: 10.09.13 @ 5:45 PM
EL GUSANO (OAKLAND)
It’s Mexican food that I crave whenever I return from a trip away from home.
Unluckily for me, I chose El Gusano as my first meal after a 2 ½ week vacation in the Philippines.
El Gusano’s decor and ambiance is date night worthy. The theme is upscale Mexican artwork of skulls and skeletons, thick dark wood tables and a brightly lit altar at the cozy bar that is sectioned off from the main dining room.
As much as the venue was tastefully festive and lovely, the food– well, let me put it this way– if you have followed me from Yelp, you know that I have an OCD tendency to write in painful details. However, there is only one word to accurately describe the food at El Gusano – bland.
One thing Mexican cuisine is NOT – tasteless.
We had the following at El Gusano:
Ceviche de Camarones $11
White shrimp with mango, peppers, serrano, red onion and cilantro.
Chile Relleno de Beef Picadillo $12
Mild Poblano chile stuffed with choice of ground beef, green olives, raisins and savory spices, .. o Queso.
Old-School Combo Plate (3 items for $12.95 including rice and beans)
I was told that they do not have any seafood aside from the soup and ceviche, since I had to take a break from my pescetarian diet while in the Philippines, I chose the Chicken Tinga Flauta, Chile Verde Enchilada and Carne Asada Taco.
Except for the Ceviche de Camarones which was delicious with the sweet mango in the salsa, every single item was one-dimensional and bland including the complimentary chips and salsa. The beans were tasteless and the rice was clumpy. We did not even finish our meal and just threw the leftovers away.
The service was friendly and attentive and the prices were great for dinner.
I found out later on that El Gusano is the sister restaurant of El Tropisueno in SF which is known for its happy hour and decent Mexican food.
But the 4 Stars on Yelp just left me shaking my head in disappointment and craving for really good Mexican food that El Gusano did not satisfy.
Check: $50 including tip
2 Hearts: I did not like it. 😦