Joel’s Mexican Food – A Buffet That Will Have You Coming Back [Review]
My usual disclaimer- I paid for my food (actually, Boleo treated me, but you get what I'm saying) and was in no way reimbursed for this review. My love of food is too real and too important for fibbin', so this is my real, authentic opinion.
Joel's is nowhere near any other food places. You probably would never drive by it on accident unless you were enjoying an activity at the Maggie Trejo Community Center (which you should take advantage of our awesome city centers).
It's nestled in a neighborhood, which is appropriate since you will feel like your are eating at a friend's house when you get there. Joel, Nati and their incredibly friendly staff made me feel welcome and comfortable right away.
Boleo has been there dozens of times and treated me to their lunch buffet which was...everything. Delicious, fresh, filling and with plenty of different foods to try. I was impressed with the salad bar, which had plenty of different toppings. Most buffet places give you cheese ranch and pickles and are done with it. Joel's had all kinds of yummy ways to take your salad to the next level.
Of course, you can't judge a Mexican food restaurant in Texas without talking about the chips and salsa. The salsa was fresh and obviously homemade as were the chips. I hate stale chips, these were crunchy and great.
The hot entrees were all fabulous and I was delighted to see in addition to beans and rice that the also had fideo, which I loaded up on since it's such a comfort food for me. The enchiladas were fresh and as good as if you had ordered them off the menu. (Some buffets let the edges get weirdly dry. I blame a lack of enough cheese.) But there was one item I loaded up on on my second trip - the best Carne Guisada I've ever had.
For me at least, Carne Guisada is always a gamble at a new restaurant. If it's bland, it's kinda the worst thing ever for me. I don't want meat in a sauce unless the sauce is excellent. The sauce is excellent at Joel's, and plenty spicy, too. I was actually sweating by the end of my second heaping bowl of it, but luckily, sour cream exists and was in abundance at the buffet.
The buffet also offers other items out of the scope of your more run-of-the-mill buffets. Menudo was offered, but I'm a weakling and can't stomach, well, stomach. My loss I'm sure.
The desserts offered were really nice as well. I love ending a meal with fresh fruit and the lemon cake was really yummy and fresh. This buffet is popular and the the restaurant was almost full, so everything stayed re-stocked and super fresh.
At less than $10 with the drink included, this buffet is a total bargain for the quality and quantity of fresh, delicious food you'll get. Just a word of warning: You will daydream about Carne Guisada forever. My mouth is watering right now.
Joel's is located at 3116 Amherst St.
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