Why: Jorge's Tequila Factory is a lively place for Mexican food in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Similar in look and feel to Jorge's Margarita Factory at 14415 E. Mill Plain Blvd., the ownership is the same. The atmosphere is hard to resist, and the menu has a vast selection of items to satisfy a range of appetites for Mexican food.
Atmosphere: Colorful, fun and celebratory, the space feels like a large indoor patio ready for a party. Italian glass pendants, white string lights and track lighting make for interesting lighting, while large windows allow in an ample amount of natural light. Several large-screen televisions provide entertainment. A few booths line the walls, with most of the seating at tables in the center of the dining room. Sidewalk dining is available, too.
What I tried: I tried the chile colorado and the enchiladas rancheras with chicken. Both entrees came with refried beans and Spanish rice. The chile colorado came with tortillas, as well. For dessert, I sampled the banana chimi.
Of the two entrees, my favorite was the chile colorado. Tender chunks of beef are simmered in a red sauce of tomatoes, onions, mild peppers and a delicious mix of spices, resulting in a robust flavor that seasons the chunks of meat to the center.
The chicken in the enchiladas was tasty but more impressive was the portion of grilled vegetables — onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms — served on top of the enchiladas. Sour cream, fresh tomatoes and avocado were served on the side.
The refried beans and rice included with both entrees are standard.
The banana chimi is a flour tortilla filled with banana, honey and cinnamon, and lightly fried and rolled in sugar. It was topped with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate and strawberry syrup. Two small scoops of vanilla ice cream accompanied it. I found the banana dessert a delightful, not overly sweet finish to the meal.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: After trying the chile colorado, I wondered if the chile verde is equally delicious. It is made with chunks of pork in a light green tomatillo sauce.
The camarones Acapulco — shrimp sautéed with onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a light red salsa — sounded appetizing, as did the veggie fajitas: onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.
The dessert menu offers more than the typical deep-fried ice cream, flan and sopapillas one might expect to see. There are also churros, Mexican cheesecake and Oreo Overload: chunks of cookie, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate and strawberry syrup.
There are three alternatives to Mexican food on the menu: a cheeseburger, a chicken burger, and a T-bone steak.
Other observations: Service was friendly, attentive and professional. The food tasted fresh, and the portions were fairly big.
The atmosphere doesn't support a romantic dinner experience. And although the name might suggest more of a bar than a restaurant, Jorge's is family-friendly.
Cost: Appetizers are $6.99 to $25.99. Soups, salads and tostadas range from $4.99 to $13.25. Burritos and enchiladas cost $11.99 to $17.75. One- to three-item combos are $9.95 to $16.95. Seafood dishes start at $15.50 and top out at $28.25. Chicken dishes are $14.25. Fajitas are $15.75 to $29.50. Veggies dishes are $9.25 to $11.75. Jorge's Favorites include a variety of dishes that range from $11.75 to $20.99. Dessert items are $3.99 to $5.99. Lunch menu items are a few bucks less.
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: 1004 Washington St., Vancouver.
Health score: Jorge's Tequila Factory received a score of 10 on June 4. Zero is a perfect score. Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or more. For more information, call 360-397-8428.