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ROBERTO'S Restaurant Review - A Different Perspective

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Post by johninajijic Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:11 pm

Last night 11 of us from our Bi Monthly Dinner group went to Roberto's restaurant. We looked at the menu which showed "Entrees 2 for 1". Great we thought. We ordered our drinks, then came bread, dipping sauces and Carrot Fritters. The usual nice start.

Then we ordered our meals from all over the menu. One person had Chicken Picatta, One had Steak Diane, Two had Brisket, Two had Liver and Onions. Three had Jersey Shore Platters (combos of scallops, shrimp & fish). I had Pork Loin with apples, gravy, sweet potatos and mashed potatos.

Two of 3 people having the Jersey Shore platter had over fried meals. My Pork Loin which was normally very moist and tender was anything but that. I had to ask for more gravy, but it still didn't moisten it. We asked if Roberto was there and was told he was at the beach.

We felt that the food is not always consistent. We were very disappointed, but had not been before. I think they'll be off our group list for the rest of the year.
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Post by gringal Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:32 pm

I've also noticed that when Roberto is gone, things start to slide.
I hear he'd like to retire and turn the day to day operation over to Omar. Running a restaurant is a very trying business. I'd miss going to those fine meals.

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Post by hound dog Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:33 pm

johninajijic wrote:Last night 11 of us from our Bi Monthly Dinner group went to Roberto's restaurant. We looked at the menu which showed "Entrees 2 for 1". Great we thought. We ordered our drinks, then came bread, dipping sauces and Carrot Fritters. The usual nice start.

Then we ordered our meals from all over the menu. One person had Chicken Picatta, One had Steak Diane, Two had Brisket, Two had Liver and Onions. Three had Jersey Shore Platters (combos of scallops, shrimp & fish). I had Pork Loin with apples, gravy, sweet potatos and mashed potatos.

Two of 3 people having the Jersey Shore platter had over fried meals. My Pork Loin which was normally very moist and tender was anything but that. I had to ask for more gravy, but it still didn't moisten it. We asked if Roberto was there and was told he was at the beach.

We felt that the food is not always consistent. We were very disappointed, but had not been before. I think they'll be off our group list for the rest of the year.

John, now look:

Please don´t think I am being a snide snot and, I must tell you your posts advising newcomers have benefitted us greatly. When we did our usual trek to Chiapas this winter and had Northen rural Idaho friends we had not seen in 50 years housesit our place, we printed out your several lists of emergency numbers and recomendations for mechanics and, with a caveat, restaurants and gave it to our newbie frends as recommendations as to whom to call and where to dine, at least modestly, so we are not your antagonists but, God help us;

Your dinner group goes to a respected local dinner joint and orders: *
* Liver and onions? Liver and onions? What is this; the Tochmo Cafe in Salina, Kansas in 1955? Reminds me of the Parris Island mess for Marine Corps recruits circa 1966.
* The Jersey Shore Platter which was "over fried"¿ Over fried? Fried at all?
* Pork Loin with both "...sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes." and "gravy". Both sweet and mashed potatoes? ¿Gravy? That reminds me of that episode of The Sopranos where those gangsters went to Naples and that guy playing the Brooklyn gangster buffoon asked the chef, "Where´s da gravy?" when confronting his seafood pasta.
* Steak Dianne? I thought the last Steak Dianne was prepared on the Queen Mary circa 1966. How was the Baked Alaska and Lobster Thermador?
* OK, so chicken Picatta might have been edible but who could screw that up?

John, don´t get mad at me. I do respect your opinions and am not making fun of you but your dinner group companions seem to be stuck in 1953.

Now, to be fair, our Northern Idaho friends who, admittedly are not from a place where great restaurants are normally found in abundance, enjoyed most if not all of the restaurants you and your friends recommended. Maybe there is something wrong with us.
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Post by GBATRUCKS Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:39 am

gringal wrote:I've also noticed that when Roberto is gone, things start to slide.
I hear he'd like to retire and turn the day to day operation over to Omar. Running a restaurant is a very trying business. I'd miss going to those fine meals.

I totally agree. I had the same exprience at Bubba's once when he wasn't there. As a former small restaurant owner, I guarantee you don't own it, it owns you. And the low pay means if the owner isn't there, the workers will sluff off (and probably steal you blind.)
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Post by gringal Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:15 pm

And another thought on Roberto's situation and menu:

Bob Snyder (aka Roberto) has been in the restaurant business since he was a tadpole. His family was in it.. As a businessman, he knows that success depends entirely on the number of paying customers, so it makes sense to cater to whatever their tastes may be.
He's no young diva trying to make a name for himself.

In case nobody else has noticed, his clientele is mainly folks over sixty. OLD GRINGOS, with an occasional sprinkling of Mexicans. So duh?
Their tastes were probably formed in the fifties, and like Mom's and Panino's (also successful) he's given them what they have always liked. He could give the dishes a fancy new name, maybe in French, (lol) but the fact is ...........they are what they are. One of the things I like about Bobby is that he and his menu are utterly unpretentious.

That "Jersey Shore Platter" is just delicious when properly cooked. (Overcooked anything is always a loser. ) "Steak Diane" is an oldie but goodie when the sauce is right, and Bobby did it right. Same with the rest of the menu.

It's sad that things aren't the same as when Bobby ruled the kitchen. Even the potato salad isn't quite what it used to be. However, nothing and nobody lasts forever. If I were his age and had a very bad back after falling off the roof, I'd want to head for my beach house and get a well-deserved chance at retirement, too.

I'll miss the good old days. Maybe Omar, the new jefe, will catch on and things will improve. He's young, having language problems and this is probably his first chance at being the top guy. I can see he's trying hard. It's hard to "shmooze" the customers when you have a problem even speaking their language, and some of the diners are just plain PITA's, as most of us know.
We shall see.

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Post by Southbound Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:02 am

I just don't get why everyone "loves" Robertos. The food is god-awful and it's overpriced.

I've been twice. Once had the fish with an "orange sauce" which was so sweet that I literally couldn't eat it. Also came with a poblano cream soup, which was way too thick with too much flour in it, and somehow managed to be completely devoid of any poblano flavour.

The second time I went, I had some sort of "thai chicken", which was the mildest, absolutely worst interpretation of Thai I've ever encountered. I mean why bother?

Totally over rated place and don't get how all these boards keep touting this as the best restaurant in Ajijic. I am sorry I gave any of my pesos to this place, and will not be returning.




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Post by johninajijic Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:28 am

Southbound wrote:I just don't get why everyone "loves" Robertos. The food is god-awful and it's overpriced.

I've been twice. Once had the fish with an "orange sauce" which was so sweet that I literally couldn't eat it. Also came with a poblano cream soup, which was way too thick with too much flour in it, and somehow managed to be completely devoid of any poblano flavour.

The second time I went, I had some sort of "thai chicken", which was the mildest, absolutely worst interpretation of Thai I've ever encountered. I mean why bother?

Totally over rated place and don't get how all these boards keep touting this as the best restaurant in Ajijic. I am sorry I gave any of my pesos to this place, and will not be returning.




No one ever touted Roberto's as the best restaurant in Ajijic. You need to read other restaurant posts to get that straight. Roberto's is one of the most popular restaurants in Ajijic because of menu offerings and ambiance, so he USUALLY does things right. Overpriced not! You need to eat at other Ajijic restaurants. This is not the US, so don't expect US quality.

You're a newbie. I strongly recommend LAURENT and EL JARDIN de NINETTE as the two best restaurants Lakeside. Hole in One was too, but their Chef quit, so we'll have to wait and see.
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Post by Southbound Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:41 am


I am just tired of reading the same reviews posted in every single forum that mentions restaurants in Ajijic. And who says those places you recommend are the best? What qualifies you as the restaurant critic around here?

Robertos at best serves up "a blue plate" special in my opinion. Oh it's popular, I am well aware of that.



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Post by gringal Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:17 am

Everybody eats, so everybody's a potential critic. Besides, nobody is being paid to post their reviews on here.

No one is preventing you or anyone else from sampling various restaurants in the area and posting a list of which ones you think are deserving of praise. In fact, a fresh opinion would be very welcome on this and other forums. If you decide to do that, it would be appreciated if you were as thorough as John has been in his lists: Addresses, prices, specialties, etc.

While you're delivering your judgments, bear in mind that Lakeside is a backwater of the universe where the diners are notoriously thrifty, the cooks aren't paid very well and the waitstaff is struggling with the measly tippers. This is not the Big City, so comparisons to food you may have eaten there would be rather unfair.

Let's hear about your positive experiences, if you've had any.


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Post by johninajijic Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:55 am

Gringal - Thanks for your post.

Southbound is a Newbie and already he sounds argumentative. BTW, my reviews are not just what I myself judge a restaurant to be, but what my entire Bi Monthly Dinner group of 8 - 14 people thinks.
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Post by gringal Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:28 am

De nada, John.
You've always made it clear that the opinions expressed in your reviews reflect those of an entire group of people. Even when I don't agree with the group opinion, at least your posts are well-thought out.

BTW, I suggest you take your group over to La Vina on Consitutiion and try that seabass a abuela, poached with good spices and IMO, delicious. the garden setting was created on a budget, but nicely done. The chef is a charmer.
I'd be interested in hearing what the group thought of it. Our four person "group" all ordered it and all intend to return for more.

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Post by Southbound Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:14 pm

johninajijic wrote:Gringal - Thanks for your post.

Southbound is a Newbie and already he sounds argumentative. BTW, my reviews are not just what I myself judge a restaurant to be, but what my entire Bi Monthly Dinner group of 8 - 14 people thinks.


I guess none of you eat Mexican food in Mexico. I don't see one Mexican place listed on there. Why would anyone want to eat mexican food in mexico, when we can eat, bland, overpriced gruel at Robertos?

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Post by David Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:39 pm

If you look at other lists you'll see many local Mexican restaurants listed.
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Post by gringal Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:42 pm

"none of you eat Mexican food"? is an absurd assertion, based on ????

Obviously, this discussion can go nowhere. Adios.


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Post by CanuckBob Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:11 pm

Southbound wrote:
johninajijic wrote:Gringal - Thanks for your post.

Southbound is a Newbie and already he sounds argumentative. BTW, my reviews are not just what I myself judge a restaurant to be, but what my entire Bi Monthly Dinner group of 8 - 14 people thinks.


I guess none of you eat Mexican food in Mexico. I don't see one Mexican place listed on there. Why would anyone want to eat mexican food in mexico, when we can eat, bland, overpriced gruel at Robertos?

Perhaps you need to read the reviews on Viva Mexico and Los Cinco Potrillos. Better yet go give them a try........
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Post by espíritu del lago Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:44 pm

A repost of that link would be nice and maybe even a sticky in the food section,favor..
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Post by David Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:00 pm

eatinglocalatlakeside.blogspot.com/
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Post by espíritu del lago Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:03 pm

http://eatinglocalatlakeside.blogspot.com/

Thanks David. I fixed your link so it will work.
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Post by David Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:11 pm

Gracias amigo!
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Post by CanuckBob Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:35 am

I have a link to the same thing at the top of the board. It says Restaurant Reviews........
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Post by gringal Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:46 am

CanuckBob wrote:I have a link to the same thing at the top of the board. It says Restaurant Reviews........

Thanks for reminding us of that section. It's a good one. flag waver

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