It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it

Getting paid to review restaurants is a pretty pampered existence. This is no surprise to the many of you who read this column weekly and think to yourself, “Man, I could do that. Eat a free meal and give my opinion of it? Duh!”

Indeed, opinions are plentiful. I just happen to get paid for mine, although if my paycheck is any indication, my opinion must be on the less-authoritative end of the spectrum.

What is challenging about the job, even in a city as restaurant-laden as Reno, is finding new places that are worth writing about. So far my track record has been pretty good, but I’ve been to Tahoe and all around the city in my pursuit of the best our area has to offer. So it figures that a great place opened up just down the street from me, and I hadn’t even noticed it. El Adobe Café is housed in the building where the Gable Roof Café once existed. El Adobe is a much different place, however. Though the interior has been changed only minimally since the transition from the Gable Roof, the addition of some Mexican-themed decorations goes a long way toward giving the already comfortable layout a distinctive feel.

What is certainly different is the selection on the menu. El Adobe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and, as the decoration and name might indicate, is predominantly a Mexican restaurant. Nothing offered there is too exotic for those familiar with Mexican cuisine here in the States: burritos, tamales, tacos and enchiladas are all represented.

In deference to our former editor, Larry Henry, who would rave about his favorite meals in the office—chile colorado being one of them—I decided on El Adobe’s chile colorado ($7.95). I also ordered some iced tea. I was served my iced tea and water immediately, along with the required chips and salsa. The chips were average, but the salsa was great, an ideal mix of spice and flavor.

My meal followed soon after and, well, I was impressed. It had nothing to do with the presentation (a layout of the main dish, beans and rice is nothing to inspire awe anymore), but from first glance I could tell that the chile colorado was something special. The meat was cooked perfectly and was covered in easily one of the best colorado sauces I’ve ever had. The beans and rice were standard fare and don’t deserve to be praised or blamed.

They just were.

My server, Abel—I didn’t ask if he had a brother—was gracious and enthusiastic. He seemed to know a lot of the lunch crowd who filtered in during my meal. He also was a convincing salesman, leading me right into the sopapilla dessert ($2.50), something I probably didn’t need after I cleaned my plate of chile colorado. I relented when he said homemade, and I’m glad I did. The doughy half-moons were liberally coated with cinnamon sugar. I ate them both.

While some of my meal—namely the chips, beans and rice—wasn’t spectacular, the main course and dessert were so good that I feel compelled to give the El Adobe four stars. Considering I’ve only eaten one dish there, I could be way off, but I’m going to stick with my rating until I have reason not to. I’ll certainly be back soon to find out if I am wrong.