Monday, January 12, 2009


A few months ago I posted a less-than-raving review about Amigo's Cantina in Kirkwood. We decided to give it another shot this weekend, and I'm glad that we did.

It was crowded and really noisy, but it was Saturday night. And the decor was still neat. The salsa was hot enough to make Ellie cry (like her mama, she scoops rather than delicately dipping) but a little queso dip solved that problem. And I loved the salsa, so I have no complaint. The food was still good, and there were cheese enchiladas on the menu, though the evening's special was seafood enchiladas. There was an interesting variety of dishes, and I remembered to stay away from the tortilla soup, which I seem to remember from our first trip as a thin chicken broth. (Note: while they have high chairs, there were no booster seats.)

Our server was great this trip, and I know that it was really the service that killed the deal for us last time. On the other hand, when we made other staff aware of the problem we were having last time (no one came to see us for an HOUR despite our best efforts to find our our server and wave him down) they just sent our original server back over, which managed to get us the bill but really didn't solve the problem (or my parched throat).

But! Vastly improved experience this time, and I'm always glad to see a small local business thriving . . . especially in downtown Kirkwood. I get regular emails with the unofficial minutes of the Kirkwood City Council Meetings, as well as notes from other committee meetings including Property and Zoning. The poor guy who owns Amigos has been jumping through hoops to get approval for having dining on an outside patio. The meeting minutes are so funny to read, I've interested two completely uninvolved parties in the ongoing saga. Recently, the cantina owner had to agree that the ambient music he'd play on the proposed patio would be soft enough that it couldn't be heard half a block away . . . at the train station. Hah! If you've ever hung around the train station in downtown Kirkwood, you know that a little mood music is not the cause of any noise pollution.

Anyway, our two dining experiences at Amigos cancel each other out. We'll eat there again, because it's convenient and pretty good, but it's not going to become my new favorite Mexican hang-out. Oh, Ramon Gallardo, how I miss your stand-alone restaurants. Despite having some of the worst service in the bi-state area, we regularly ate at Ramon's Salsa by the West Olive 16, just for the salsa and the fact that it was all we had left after Casa Gallardo Grill at the Galleria and Ramon's Jalapeno in Clayton closed down. (More than once we had to drop a few bucks on the table for our drinks and leave without even ordering or being able to track down our server, in order to make it to our movie on time. Casa Grill, on the other hand, was so fabulous that we had them cater our wedding!) Now, not even El Torito is planning a move to town. Alas.

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