Update: This location is now closed.
The qualms I have with most buffets is that it’s hard to keep the food tasting fresh, which is why I would rather just order off of a menu and have the food cooked just for me and my tastebuds. But my boy has been aching, aching for a Mexican buffet. I think it all started when he spotted these signs for a Mexican buffet over in Sports Arena, but whenever we tried to go the place was closed (but we couldn’t tell if it was closed for the day or closed for good). Yesterday during his route for work he spotted a billboard for a Mexican buffet and pleaded with me (okay, he just asked) if I was willing to try it out. I was hesitant, but I figured why not? I’ve never been to a Mexican buffet and I should try it out at least once.
We stepped into El Pollo Grill at around 7PM and found the place to be almost deserted with only a few other patrons in the restaurant. We peeked at the buffet before ponying up our money and saw a few treats we were interested in – El Pollo Grill’s signature broiled chicken, carnitas, pollo asado, fish, and all the fixings to make your own soft taco or tostada, and a few desserts. We decided it looked decent enough and paid the price for our meals which were $10.99 per person.
This photo doesn’t show what I ate – rather the boy’s plate – but shows a bit of the variety you can get here (make your own tostadas, quesadillas, chips).
I tried a variety of things from the buffet, and to my surprise, everything tasted very fresh and crisp. One of the first things I tried was the broiled chicken – it was very juicy and tender and had a good flavor to it. I rolled it up in a tortilla with a little guacamole, sour cream, cheese and lettuce and I was good to go. The guacamole was also good – basic guacamole with avocados and not a lot of “fluff” (no tomatoes or cilantro that I could detect). I really like tasting the avocado itself and don’t really care for too many other ingredients in it, so this was perfect for me.
I also tried some of the chips and made myself a little tostada with some beans, carnitas and other fixings. The chips and the tostada shell were both very crisp and not oily. They packed a good crunch for something that had been out for awhile and did not taste bad in the least. The chips were good and again, not oily or greasy at all. Again, very impressive for a buffet.
The other items I tried were the Arroz con Leche (sweet rice with a hint of cinnamon) and buñuelos – crispy tortilla chips rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Both sweet and tasty and rounded out my meal nicely.
They also have menudo, a variety of fresh looks salsas, Mexican rice, beans, fixings for a salad, and we were told they were going to soon offer up some beef items, such as carne asada, in the future.
El Pollo Grill is located off Euclid Ave. near the Euclid Trolley Station. It’s a family owned restaurant with one other location in Lemon Grove. We spoke with the owner, Victor, for a little bit who asked us how the buffet was and what we thought of the prices. He told us that last night was the first night they had done the Mexican buffet and we told him how impressed we were with the quality of the food offered. Victor told us that many of their dishes were prepared in a healthy way – some of the items had no added oils or fats (with the exceptions being the refried beans of course) and that they were very much a health conscious restaurant. He was super nice and friendly and was glad to hear we enjoyed our meal and hoped we would come back in again – and we told him we would be back.
If you’re looking for a not-your-average-buffet meal, then El Pollo Grill is a sure bet. They offer their Mexican buffet after 4PM if you’re not in the mood for Chinese!
El Pollo Grill
342 Euclid Ave., Suite 405
San Diego, CA 92102