El Meson Hits A Sour Note

Saturday, February 8, 2014 - by Willie Mae
Steak Fajita dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard
Steak Fajita dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard

My son Jack took me to dinner at El Meson on Hamilton Place Boulevard over the weekend. I try to visit places during a time when not many are dining, so it won’t be so crowded, but Jack was late and we hit the dinner crowd.

It wasn’t too bad and we were seated right away. Jack and I ordered Diet Cokes but didn’t know what we wanted to eat. We weren’t in a hurry and I wanted to relax and enjoy being with my son.

Our waiter said he would be back with our beverages, but we didn’t see him for a while. Jack and I looked over the menu and we heard live singing from across the room. What I thought was going to be an enjoyable evening started out bad and just got worse.

Jack and I listened to the person strum their guitar and sing, “I’m a Cowboy”. I thought it was a girl singing, but Jack asked me why a girl would be singing that she was a ‘cowboy’. I looked again and it was a man with long hair. He didn’t look like a cowboy at all and he didn’t sound country either.

Our waiter finally brought our Diet Cokes and Jack asked for a dish of their Queso cheese dip to go with the complimentary chips and salsa. Then we ordered our meals. I wanted the steak fajitas for $11.99 and Jack ordered a chicken Chimichanga for $8.99.

My attention went back to the singer and I heard the chorus from “House of the Rising Sun” (Jack helped me with the songs' names, but I knew some of them). This boy couldn’t stay on key and Jack said that he had a voice that was a cross between Bob Dylan and Jim Croce.

Just then, a boy came rushing from the kitchen and placed a heated pan of fajita makings on the table with a platter of refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce and he headed back for the kitchen without saying a word. Jack wondered if his meal would soon follow while our entertainer tried to hit the notes to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. All Jack and I could do was shake our heads with how this evening was going.

I was not brought the flour tortillas that come with my entrée and I was not given a plate to eat on either. When we saw our waiter, I asked him where the flour tortillas were and he said, “Oh, you want flour tortillas with it?” Now, I have ordered this dish many times before at other restaurants and that it how you eat them. He seemed to think he was doing me a favor by going back to get the tortillas. He said he would also check on Jack’s dinner. Jack reminded him about the Queso dip as he walked off.

He came back with the flour tortillas and told us that somehow the computer didn’t list the queso dip or Jack’s meal but he would tell them in the kitchen to add it. Jack didn’t buy that, but at that point we didn’t expect anything to get any better.

When I asked the waiter if I could have a plate he said, “You want an extra plate?” This got me tickled, because this boy could not accept that he didn’t bring the things he was supposed to in the first place and acted as if I was asking for something extra.

He brought Jack’s Chimichanga and brought a plate for me. I was finally able to put my fajitas together and start eating now that everything was lukewarm. Because of the confusion, I failed to get a picture of the Chimichanga.

Jack didn’t like the queso dip and I wasn’t fond of the fajitas, but he did like the Chimichanga. I ate less than half of my meal and that same boy that rushed from the kitchen came out with another Chimichanga. And, just as fast as he charged out, he saw Jack already had one and he turned on his heel and went back! I guess the computer fixed itself.

As our entertainer belted out Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” our waiter asked how everything was. I wasn’t going to lie. I just shrugged and said, “Eh.” He didn’t apologize. But just handed Jack the check and asked if we wanted boxes.

They were pretty busy and I thought perhaps it was one of those things where because it was very good most of the time, it was very busy and, because it was very busy it was not very good.

A party of eight or more were seated at the table near our booth and chairs were added and another table. Jack was trapped and could barely get out of the booth. We just wanted to leave. This was not a relaxing or enjoyable evening.

As we passed by the musician he belted out, “Get back! Get back! Get back to where you once belonged…” Jack and I just wanted to get out!

I understand they were busy and people must like this place so take it for what you will. But nothing about our evening was anything that would make us want to go back.

Hours:

Sunday - Thursday: 11am-10pm

Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm



J.W. Kelly Of Chattanooga Introduces Old Milford Bourbon To Market

In 1866, J.W. Kelly was the first recorded liquor distillery and dealer in Chattanooga. After 50 years of making much-sought-after fine whiskeys, the company’s production was halted due to Prohibition. Now, 100 years later two friends have reestablished the name, spirit, taste, and tradition of J.W. Kelly & Co. by introducing a classic Old Milford Bourbon. This fine spirit will ... (click for more)

Applebees Closes In Downtown Chattanooga

Sunday was the final day for the Applebees restaurant at Fourth and Market in downtown Chattanooga. It was on the list of some 130 under-performing units of the restaurant chain. A manager said it was difficult to operate downtown, especially with the lack of parking. He said the restaurant had just under 30 employees. All have gotten work at other Applebees, he stated.  ... (click for more)

Witness Says Morse Told Him "His Emotions Got The Best Of Him" At Triple Killing In Lookout Valley

A witness told a Criminal Court jury on Friday that Derek Morse told him "his emotions got the best of him" at a triple killing in Lookout Valley. Michael Shavers also said Morse told him in detail about the slayings of John "Jake" Lang, Jon Morris and Caleb Boozer and the shooting of Matthew Callan at the Rolling Hills Trailer Park on April 9, 2014. Morse is standing trial ... (click for more)

Prosecutor Calls For "Meaningful Punishment" For Dyer, Brennan In $4.9 Million Swindle

Federal prosecutor James Brooks is calling for a "meaningful sentence" for Doug Dyer and James Brennan, who are charged in a $4.9 million swindle. He rejected arguments that they should receive leniency due to their age and health problems. They are set to be sentenced next Friday at 9 a.m. by Judge Travis McDonough. Prosecutor Brooks said concerning Dyer, "As this Court ... (click for more)

Fix Obamacare, Don't Repeal It - And Response (2)

John McCain recently said, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full (Congressional Budget ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: J.B. And The Saturday Funnies

As thousands of his friends prepare to celebrate the 100th birthday of Chattanooga newspaper icon, J.B. Collins, tomorrow, it is only fitting that I publicly salute a great reporter who helped develop me as a writer in the 38 years we spent together at the Chattanooga News-Free Press. He was a genius of a writer back in the day and a great photographer as well. I have adored him ... (click for more)