• The place: El Sol Mexican Restaurant, 4047 Hixson Pike.
• The meal: Special Lunch No. 3, side of guacamole.
• The cost: $9.59.
We've discussed here in the past the differences in Mexican restaurants in our area. There are essentially three types. On the ends of the spectrum are the fast-food chains and what we'll call authentic diners, where the dishes are made fresh, you can taste every piece of onion, jalapeno, chili or bean, and the meats are seasoned to perfection.
Then there are the ones in between, and even in that group, some are better than others. These are larger restaurants that are sometimes chains. Their food is often prepared in advance, and the dishes have a certain familiarity to them.
El Sol fits into the middle category. The restaurant is clean and airy, and the waitress was very friendly and helpful. She said the Special Lunch No. 3 was by far the most popular item on the menu, so I went with that, along with her recommendation that I order a side of guacamole.
If I could do it over, I'd choose another entree, but I definitely would order the guacamole again. My server said it's made fresh every day, and it was pretty evident, as it was darn good. It added flavor to the salsa, which was good but not great.
The No. 3 comes with one bean burrito, one cheese enchilada and Mexican rice. Like the salsa, all three items were OK but not special. I like flavors to be distinctive while working together, and except for the guacamole -- did I mention how good it was? -- there was little to distinguish one bite from the next.
El Sol has a large menu, and I'd like to go back and try something a little more adventuresome -- and get more of that guacamole.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...