El Jalapeño spicing up Statesboro

Meagan Greene

El Jalapeño, a new Mexican restaurant that is scorching through Statesboro, leaving a trail of practical prices and interesting meal options.

The new kid on the block in the Statesboro Mexican food scene, El Jalapeño is looking to give established joints El Rinconcito and El Sombrero a run for their money. The restaurant is located in the same building where Jaman Caribbean Café once was.

The atmosphere was bright and inviting to go along with music that set the relaxed yet busy feel of the restaurant. Definitely a place to go any day of the week, but especially on Sundays, after a long weekend out and about.

Each item on the menu contains ingredients that do not shy away from what you would get at any run-of-the-mill cultural food joint such as this one. However, the way the food is prepared and presented makes the entire experience superior to its competition.

The meal started like most Mexican cuisine establishments, with plenty of chips and salsa. While the chips were no different from your average grocery store brand, the salsa was far beyond that. This salsa is quite possibly the best salsa in Statesboro. The key was El Jalapeño’s on-point use of cilantro, not overbearing but definitely noticeable. To go along with this the balanced texture and thickness of the salsa rounded out an impressive start to a meal.

Although there was a menu of what seemed like endless possibilities, the Tacos de Carne Asada meal stood out the most. The order consisted of seasoned carne asada beef served on top of flavorful flour tortillas with a mixture of sides including rice, beans, guacamole and perfect pico de gallo.  Though all parts good in their own right, the most notable piece in the dish was the beef. El Jalapeño managed to make a generally subpar, chewy and cheap cut of beef taste magnificent and become tender.

Another route to be taken on the menu would be the Chile Colorado, which is made up of fajita steak with red sauce. Along with the main course the meal is served with an assortment of sides including beans, rice, three tortillas, hot chili and a choice of either a tossed salad or guacamole salad.

Dessert options include items such as flan, a classic Mexican custard, or cinnamon churros, another staple of the Latin-American dessert diet.

The cherry on top of any new restaurant is the service. El Jalapeño meets the mark with friendly and, more importantly, timely employees. Starting with greeting each customer gallantly when they walk through the front door to serving them with grace, then finishing off the job with a cheerful adios amigos, this restaurant does its job well.