Mexico Lindo disappoints diner

Mexican restaurant's offerings lacking in freshness, flavor

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Some fans of Lindo Mexico Restaurant and Cantina have been unhappy about this review of Mexico Lindo. They might be interested in The Columbian's April 2014 review of Lindo Mexico.

Some fans of Lindo Mexico Restaurant and Cantina have been unhappy about this review of Mexico Lindo. They might be interested in The Columbian’s April 2014 review of Lindo Mexico.

Why: Mexico Lindo, not to be confused with Lindo Mexico Restaurant and Cantina, has been serving a range of Mexican dishes since 2008. The establishment is a neighborhood restaurant in the strip mall anchored by Planet Fitness.

What I tried: I tried two tamales with chicken, which came with rice, refried beans and a small (emphasis on small) salad. I was served tortilla chips upon being seated. These came with salsa and bean dip as well. The chips were appetizingly warm and not greasy. Both the salsa and the bean dip were standard.

What I envisioned when I read on the menu that the tamales were handmade was not even close to what arrived at the table. Instead of having that delicate, fresh-made quality and light color, the texture of the tamales’ exteriors was extremely dense, almost doughlike. They seemed stale and had a drab color that might suggest the same. And the color of the sauce had the hue of an aged adobe-clay pot. The real horror was discovering the filling was processed and formed chicken. I prefer to choose the parts of the chicken I consume, and I have never been served anything but tender, shredded chicken at Mexican restaurants. It is inconceivable to me that anything but this would be used.

Giving Mexico Lindo the benefit of the doubt, I tried a bite. One bite was enough to confirm that using this product in a tamale is bad practice.

The rice tasted stale and was made with dehydrated celery and carrots that were not fully hydrated. The beans were runny. The salad was a small handful of an out-of-date, prepackaged iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots. The salad pieces were not crisp, and most of their edges were browning. The dollop of dressing on the salad was the most appetizing thing on my plate.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: If you choose to go to Mexico Lindo, you can expect choices common at a Mexican restaurant: combination meals, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and burritos, and flan and deep-fried ice cream for dessert.

Atmosphere: The space is small with tall, attractive booths, which have upholstered backrests and seats surrounded by sturdy wood. Tables coordinate with the booths and have tile-trimmed surfaces. Walls are painted in murals portraying Southwest settings. Lighting is fairly dim, and each table has a fancy sombrero-shaded light above it. Other elements of the decor, such as the light blue paint on the ceiling panels, attempt to portray a sense of patio dining.

Other observations: There is a great idea behind the atmosphere, but unfortunately it has been neglected and needs repair and a thorough cleaning.

I experienced satisfactory service, but when I ordered the tamales, I was not asked what kind of sauce I desired. The menu clearly states “your choice of ranchero, verde or mole sauce.” I was so distracted by the unpleasantly dirty atmosphere that I forgot to specify which sauce I wanted. As it turned out, it did not matter. The food quality is very poor and not worth the money.

The to-go menu has written on its face “Mexican dining at its finest” and “Voted best Mexican food in Clark County four years in a row.” Someone needs to take them to task.

Cost: Most dishes are $10 to $15.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Where: 7900 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver.

Telephone: 360-695-6938.

Health score: Mexico Lindo received a score of 25 on June 10. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.