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Re: “Caliente combines Mexican flavors with a Lowcountry influence

We made from downtown one Saturday a few weeks ago. We had heard mixed reviews. What a waste of our time and gas. Here's the review my partner posted on Trip Advisor.
We went to Caliente today for lunch. We were seated promptly by our waitress, given menus, then she left and returned with chips and salsa and took our drink order. The chips were very good, if a little cold. I don't mean room temperature, I mean they felt slightly chilled, which was odd considering the bin was sitting in the dining room.

The salsa is... strange. It is very thin -- like watery V8 juice -- and the first flavor that beats you over the head is red wine vinegar. It mellows into a sweetness, then the cayenne pepper kicks in at the end. It was more vinaigrette than salsa and just too bizarre for me.

In an attempt to find something to pair with the chips we ordered pico de gallo. It was brought promptly and looked lovely and fresh. They had apparently mixed it with a bit of the bizarre salsa, and someone decided it would be a good idea to add white pepper. They overdid it, though, so the end result was a pretty pico de gallo with a great texture that tasted like red wine vinegar and white pepper. I had two bites to make sure the first wasn't a fluke, and it wasn't. I couldn't eat it.

For an entree I ordered a burrito with pulled pork. It was topped with more of the inedible pico de gallo and some guacamole. Inside were black beans, the pulled pork, and pepper jack cheese. The pork had no flavor. I ate a couple of forkfuls of it by itself and could not make out any flavor whatsoever. It was so overcooked it was mush so it had no texture, either. I'm not sure how you do that to pork.

Paired with this was some Mexican rice. It apparently had tomato product of some kind because it was red, but all I could taste was cumin. Whoever put the white pepper in the pico must have also applied the cumin to the rice. It was so overwhelming I couldn't finish it.

My partner ordered a chimichanga, which is essentially a deep fried burrito. He had his with beef brisket, which was tasty on its own but lost when mixed with the guacamole and horrible pico. The black beans he had on his plate were also good.

I had to ask the waitress twice for more tea. She would disappear into the kitchen and I could see her through the door, standing there doing nothing. She and another waitress did keep our chip basket full, though.

The final straw for me was it was incredibly noisy. When we arrived there were guests at four tables besides ours. We had a hard time hearing each other. The roof is corrugated metal, the floors are concrete, and it echoed horribly. There was a table near us with three adults and three children. There was a little girl who was apparently not going to behave and any attempt at controlling her led to ear-piercing migraine-inducing shrieking. There was a TV on in the corner, blaring loudly with a football game nobody was watching, which certainly didn't help matters. Did I mention that it echoed horribly?

The prices were reasonable, the portions were adequate. The service was a little worse than average but I don't think we were singled out. There were far more misses than hits, though, and I won't be going back.

Posted by mpstrak on November 28, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Re: “Jamaican sisters bringing the Caribbean to Charleston

Can't wait to have dinner there. I LOVE Jamaican food when it's authentic. Even more, my family lived in one of those houses back in the mid 70's. It'll be so amazing to step back in time!

Posted by mpstrak on June 25, 2010 at 8:44 AM
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