Friday, October 17, 2008

Fernando's On Pacific

Restaurant: Fernando's On Pacific
Address: 7555 Pacific St
Website: N/A
Genres: Mexican
Check Constraints: None
Chain:Yes | More Omaha Locations: Yes

  • Appetizer Sampler ($8.95)
  • #5 combo (Two chicken enchiladas) ($9.95)
Fernando's is a hard place to miss, on account of the gigantic table on the roof. We briefly considered asking if we could have that table, but thought they probably heard that way too often and opted not to be lame. There's outside seating, though it wasn't in use when we went, and inside there's plenty of room, in general, though we had to have another table brought over, on account of several of us being large and in charge.

We've had pretty good experiences with mexican restaurants in Omaha, so I was kinda hopeful walking in. I'm just going to make a quick note here, everything, and I do mean -everything- came out blazing hot, like they had just pulled all the plates out of the oven. I burned my hand, though not enough to blister, and if you don't let things sit for a minute or two, you're probably going to regret it.

The appetizer section wasn't anything amazing, so we opted for a sampler and some chicken nachos. The chicken nachos were a bit on the crumbly side, but other than that, they were simple and clean. There were chips, copious amounts of cheese and chicken, and some hot peppers, and nothing else. They were pretty good, too, and once they cooled down a tad, they were devoured at speed. Most of the stuff on the sampler didn't really appeal to me, but I'll let others cover that, because I can't remember any of it.

I figured out before I ordered that this place was like the good restaurants and not the bad ones, so I ordered a tad light, going with two enchiladas. MapleSyrup and I opted for the same combo, so I took chicken, and he'll be talking about the beef and seafood. The chicken enchiladas were high quality. The chicken was juicy and just a little spicy, there was plenty of cheese, and quite frankly, it's the best I've had in quite a while.

If it weren't for the somewhat lackluster appetizer menu, I'd easily rate this above my favorite, Senor Matias, but as it is, it's just a tad short. It's still a damn good choice, though, and if you're not up for appetizers or a bit of non-mexican food, I'd come here without hesitation.

  • Iced Tea ($1.75)
  • Pork Green Chili Stew ($3.95)
  • Tamale Plate ($7.95)
    • Beans
    • Rice
To be fair, the appetizers are only lackluster because we're all so very sick of dips. They're an appetizer staple, and we've had far too many of them to truly appreciate a good guacamole or bean dip at this point. The sampler was decent if a little sparse for five people, and the nachos were certainly adequate.

You may wonder why we order so much soup or stew; I know in my case, the primary reason isn't necessarily to get more food, but to experience a broader range of the restaurant's flavors for not that much more money. If a place offers cups of soup, I recommend you try the same thing, especially if you come across an interesting or unique variety of soup. In this case the soup was good, if not especially outstanding in any category. Keep it to the cup, though, since I think a bowl would be too much of the flavor.

Unlike ND, I actually thought the portions here were on the average size, as opposed to the immense portions occasionally offered up elsewhere. The tamale was good, as such things go, though as mentioned the size was a tad small. If you're looking for the highest "food for your buck ratio" you'd probably be better off to get the Tamale Combo instead of the Tamale Plate - it's $2 more and you get an extra item. Also, as I make this post I realize I am stuck in a tamale rut and likely need to order something else next time we hit a Mexican place.

My verdict is Would Eat Again, especially with the free suckers they give you with the check.

  • Chicken Nachos ($7.50)
  • #3? combo (Burrito, Taco, Tamale) ($9.95)
It's been a long time, but I haven't forgotten everything.

As for appetizers, the sampler had wings, cheese, what one might term 'mexican eggrolls'... good flavors, but yeah, for 5-6, not enough so everyone gets a taste of everything. The salsa that came with was pretty tasty as well. The nachos were good, and not quite as difficult to pick apart as some others that we've talked about, although still with the big block o'melted cheddar issue to a point.

I'll second the 'hot plate' mention with a note that the servers use oven mitts to bring out the food. They seem to go for cooking things right on the plates. In some cases, it shows more than others. My combo actually was difficult to pick out the burrito on, as it seemed to be buried next to the tamale. The tacos here are pretty solid on the beef front, good vegetation to go with flavorful beef, and using the folded pita-like 'soft'ish shells. The flavor of the tamale was fairly well mixed, not overpoweringly corn as I am used to, and the meat of the tamale and the beef burrito were both very good. The beans and such were fairly standard, but they're refried beans, what do you want from them? I do tend to agree with Art that the size was not huge, but my perspective on that is more that I want a large 'main' piece, and less of the sides. This was not so much with the large main dish in my opinion. Contrast with Giant Burritos of Doom from other places. Still, reasonable prices and good flavors. I'd want to mix it up next time, but I'd give it another shot.

  • Fernando's Favorite ($8.95)
The "Fernando's Favorite" is a combo plate with a taco and an enchilada with your choice of fillings. I got beef for the taco and chicken for the enchilada. I don't remember a whole lot about it, but none of it was dry. The bottom of the taco did get a bit soggy from sitting on a bed of lettuce. The chicken enchilada was pretty decent. The sides it came with were average. It was good, but it didn't stand out in my mind.

What did stand out were a couple of things in the appetizers. There were some fried pepper things that looked a lot like jalapeno poppers, but had a red pepper and were a bit more spicy. Those I thought were pretty good and fairly unique. The dip was pretty good. It was a pico de gallo salsa, which I'm not usually interested in. The chicken wings and other sampler items weren't otherwise impressive. The nachos were good. They were probably more worth the price than the sampler. They had good flavor and weren't terribly hard to eat. Their chips, in general, seemed extra salty.

I'd visit again. It didn't think it stood from the crowd terribly well, but it was a good meal. They do have some other, less-standard options as well as some non-Mexican choices.

  • Soda Pop ($1.75)
  • #5 combo (Beef Enchilada, Seafood Enchilada) ($9.95)
Thinking back on it, Mecha is probably right. I bet they cook the food right on the plate and that's why they were so deathly hot.

I was fairly impressed with the portions, especially in light of Margarita's, the last Mexican joint we went to. The enchiladas were a good size. There was a heapin' helpin' of refried beans with a dash of cheese and a heapin' helpin' of mexican rice. The beef enchilada was unremarkable, though good. I can't even remember if it was shredded or ground beef, unfortunately. The seafood enchilada, on the other hand, was delicious. The innards were a mix of crab (most likely with a k) meat with some small shrimps. They were perfectly warmed and not at all fishy. I bit in and chewed and got the nice little pops of the shrimp and a not overpowering taste of the krab. I would definitely order it again.

Overall, I liked the place and would advocate going back. The bucket of suckers that came with the check, of course, had absolutely no effect on that opinion *cough*

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