Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant
4050 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA 92116
Joe, a friend that I have reviewed restaurants with before, called me and asked if I was interested in having lunch at Ponce’s Restaurant in Kensington. Mexican food is one of my favorites, so I agreed to meet him at the restaurant. It is very easy to get to – right off Highway 15 at Adams. We met at 11:45am. The timing was good, because even though we had a 10 minute wait for a booth, by noon people were in line waiting for a table.
There is a very extensive menu – beginning with appetizers ranging from $4.95-$7.95; soups and salads from $5 to $8.75; combinations where you can choose 2 items, plus beans and rice, start at $9.95 and for 3 items it is $11.95.
There are many “Specialty Burritos”, ranging from $5.95 to $6.95; their “Specialty Taco’s begin at $4.95 and range to $8.95. A side of guacamole runs only $1.00.
In addition to the “specialties” there is also a section called “House Dishes” that start at $9.95 and go to $13.95; three selections of fajitas ranging from $10.25 to $12.00.
There is a small section of “Desayuno’s” – breakfasts – all at $9.95 as well as a small section of “Lunch Specials” from $6.95 – $7.95. In addition to all of the above, there is an extensive “Ala Carte” menu that has almost everything on it that is on the regular menu, save the rice and beans.
The beverage menu is also extensive: besides the soft drinks and teas and coffee, there is wine – Santa Tomas wineries – red, white and rose; there are 21 different kinds of tequila; there are 13 varieties of Margarita’s. It also has a full bar.
And to top it off there is a dessert menu which includes vanilla ice cream, Fried Ice Cream, flan, etc.
Joe recommended the chorizo but since what I usually have to gauge a Mexican restaurant is machaca, I passed on it. Joe had “Carnitas” that came with rice and beans, guacamole, sour cream, and tortilla’s. (He ordered flour – where as I ordered corn.) His order came from the “House Dish section” and there was more than enough on his plate to feel two people.
Joe’s carnitas was tasty. The meat was fresh; the guacamole very tasty; the beans fair. He liked mine better than his. The flour tortillas were good.
I stayed with the machaca, which I ordered off the “Desayuno” menu, and it had rice and beans and tortillas. But, the refried beans on my plate were over-cooked and had an unappetizing crust on them from being overcooked. Under the crust they were tasty, as was the accompanying rice.
(A word about the beans – I had refried beans but on Joe’s plate the beans were not refried, rather, they were almost like they had just been taken out of a can and placed on his plate. They were good; but neither of us had any choice about which beans we preferred. The menu merely indicated “rice and beans.”)
Of the 3 corn tortillas, two were good; the third was dried and overcooked. The machaca was okay – but not nearly as tasty as the machaca at El Indio, for example. Something was lacking in the flavor, but there was an ample amount. I would not order it again there.
The salsa was okay; it looked more like a commercial brand than home made because it was so thin, but had a nice bite to it. Chips and salsa were served as we took our table.
The service was somewhat slow; and the waiter apologized for it twice during our meal. However, I finished my water half way into the meal and I was never offered a refill. (There is a sign on the wait station that if you do not want water to be served to you to please let the waitperson know.)
Over all I was not too impressed by the food, and, at times, the noise was so loud that I could not hear Joe across the table. However, I would try it again because the other reviews I have read have been very good. I would not order either of the two items we had today, but it is always fun to try new things, so I’ll be back.