“Ernesto’s Fine Mexican Food”, located in the Enchanted Forest shopping center off of Route 40 in Ellicott City, is part of a small, five restaurant chain. (The currently unanswered great mystery of life question is how they came to open up a restaurant in Ellicott City area when the other four locations are all in Texas!)
The interior is unexpectedly colorful and interesting compared to the unimpressive, generic facade. Two dining rooms are filled with over-sized art; floor to ceiling windows look out on a large patio area (interestingly shared half and half with the adjacent White Oak Tavern).
Ernesto’s has a big dinner menu and provided us with bowls of chips and salsa to munch on while we considered what to order! The menu includes a dozen appetizers ($5 – $13 with Guacamole Mexico prepared at your table for $9), soups ($4/cup, $6/bowl), three entrée salads ($10-$12), tacos ($13-$15), four different steak preparations ($14-$17), and a few dozen variations of Mexican standard dishes ($12-$17). There also an option to create your combo (Two items – $9, Three items $11). FYI: If price is big consideration, you’ll find more “under $10” options at our Mexican favorite in Columbia, “On the Border”.
The lunch menu offers lower prices including a bowl of Tortilla soup plus your choice of a regular enchilada(cheese, chicken or beef) or a crispy taco or a tamale for just 6.99.
After thinking it through, Paul decided on the three item combo ($11), Tom ordered Tacos David ($13) and John opted for El Jimador Carnita Burrito ($14).
Paul’s combo included a beef taco, a beef tostada, and a Cheese Enchilada along with rice and beans! There was so much food that he ended up taking a 1/3 of it home with him and he definitely looked like a happy camper!
Tom’s Tacos David included three soft tacos filled with beef brisket, Monterrey Jack cheese, onion & bell peppers. Tom gave his tacos a Thumbs Up!
John’s burrito was huge! It was stuffed with spiced carnitas (pork), rice, chili conqueso and pico de gallo and topped with chipotle sour cream sauce, fresh avocado wedges and queso fresco along with a cup of charo beans. John asked for some more salsa to go with his meal – our server asked if he’d like spicy or regular; he opted enthusiastically for the spicy and, boy oh boy, our server delivered some salsa with a kick! (Tom – who likes hot spicy food – tried some and immediately gulped down some water!) John gave his burrito a “Thumbs Up!” for the generous amount of spicy roasted pork (There proved to be so much stuffed in his burrito that he ended up taking 1/2 of it home with him! )
Now I don’t normally go around taking and/or sharing photos of rest rooms… But Ernesto’s rest room was SO colorful (just walking into it felt like when I’ve had two cups of high-test coffee…) that I had to take a photo and share it!
We ended up glad that we gave Ernesto’s a try. Service was very good – the staff was attentive, the dining room were very attractive, the food was very good and portions were generous. If you’re over on the west side of town and like Mexican food, “Ernesto’s Fine Mexican Food” is worth checking out!
FACTS: Ernesto’s Fine Mexican Food – Ellicott City; 10040 Baltimore National Pike (aka Rte 40); (410) 750-1005 ; www.ernestosfinemexicanfood.com/ernestos-ellicot-md.html ; Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; Full Bar; Vegetarian Options; Adjacent free parking.