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


Chattanooga Restaurant Treats Guests To Belgian-Inspired Brews During Latest Explorer Series

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, a traditional casual dining restaurant known for its expansive selection of craft beers, is showing its support of Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews by featuring limited-time selections from Brewery Ommegang and some of Belgium’s most renowned breweries in its latest Explorer Series installment. Officially kicking off on July 15 and just in time ... (click for more)

Puckett's Holding Job Fair, To Begin Serving In August

As Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant nears completion of its 6,750-square-foot space renovation in downtown Chattanooga, the eatery and music venue will hold a two-day job fair next week to fill more than 80 staff positions.     The restaurant will host interviews in the Hilton Garden Inn at 311 Chestnut Stree t on Wednesday, July 22, from 10 a.m. ... (click for more)

Thousands Line Route For Funeral Procession Of Sailor Slain In Chattanooga Shooting; Wife Sings Song At Funeral She Was Singing When They Met

Thousands of people waving flags and signs again lined the streets and highways of Chattanooga for the second of two local funerals for military personnel slain by a gunman on July 16. And at the funeral service for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith, his wife, Angie, sang the song she was singing the first time they met. She said she was singing "You say it best when ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Declared He Was "An Innocent Man" On Child Pornography Charges Gets Conviction, 24-Year Sentence Overturned

The Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a Chattanooga man who claimed at his trial and sentencing that he was wrongfully convicted by a jury of possession and distribution of child pornography. James Paul Lowe had been sentenced in May to serve 24 years in federal prison. After the sentencing, he had bid his family goodbye and told them to ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Could Obama Win Again?

When President Barack Obama spoke to the African Union yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he made a pretty brash statement: “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he told the African leaders. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.” While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think that’s true. Obviously, term limits keep Obama from running, but as I sit ... (click for more)