Sunday, May 14, 2006

Now Open: El Grullense on Woodside Road

Finally! About a week behind schedule, the newest El Grullense opened for business yesterday. And, as can be expected on Day One, service wasn't the smoothest -- but at least the food was still awesome. (Here's my review of the El Camino Real location.)

The restaurant is much bigger than I expected. Located in a newly renovated strip mall on Woodside Road, the space is clean and airy. There isn't a lot in the way of decor, although their are colorful murals and paintings gracing the walls. And about half a dozen flat-screen TVs mounted throughout. In the back is the bar area, which also includes a couple of candy machines and a jukebox. The salsa bar is situated beside the soda station, in the middle of the restaurant.

The menu board is quite extensive, but lacks the food photographs that you'll find at the El Grullense on El Camino. Although there was only one person in line in front of us, it took FOREVER to get up to the cash register. There were actually two registers, but only one was being used at the time and only cash was accepted. (About half a dozen people were huddled around the sole register in use -- maybe training?) When it was our turn to order, it turned into a ten-minute ordeal. I wanted the two taco combination (comes with a soda, rice and beans for $5.99). For some reason, it kept ringing up as $8.50. After repeated attempts to correct the error, the cashier gave up and charged me about $5 for my meal. Jon's chicken burrito was no problem.

Next up was the wait for the food, which we ordered to go -- yet it was brought to us on a dine-in tray. The server quickly realized the mistake and took the food back to the assembly line to be properly packed up. A few minutes later, we had our bag and were out the door. But when we got home and looked inside, there was an extra burrito. No idea how that happened, since it wasn't on the tray the server almost gave us.

The glitches were understandable, given it was El Grullense's first day in operation. The staff, although clearly a bit stressed, was still super-friendly. And the food more than made up for any errors. Their hot sauce is the best (one of the hottest I've come across in a Mexican restaurant), and the beans are good and cheesy. Yummm. Plus, we got a free burrito!

(Pssst... The parking lot in front of the restaurant is really small, but there's a larger lot in the back.)

El Grullense Grill
768 Woodside Road
Redwood City, CA
(650) 368-3325