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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

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In Dining Reviews

Jose's immediately reminded us, décor-wise, of the extinct Chi Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants, with loud colors and flashy menus. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Dining Reviews

Jose's offers standard, quick, non-spectacular Americanized Mexican fare with some interesting options added for good measure. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Dining Reviews

The Brookfield location is popular, with a healthy bar crowd and slews of people waiting for tables at the front entrance. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

Popular Jose's Blue Sombrero offers quick fare


With a name like Jose's Blue Sombrero, and a tagline of "hip, cheap and no sleep," diners at Jose's Blue Sombrero, 20371 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield, are likely not looking for freshly made, authentic Mexican food when they walk into the doors, but rather a party atmosphere, margaritas on tap and drive-through fast Mexican food -- and that's exactly what they'll get -- after the lengthy wait for a table, which on one visit, was close to 45 minutes.

Jose's immediately reminded us, décor-wise, of the extinct Chi Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants, with loud colors and flashy menus. The Brookfield location is popular, with a healthy bar crowd and slews of people waiting for tables at the front entrance; I asked around and heard the same about the Racine location: it appears you can usually expect a wait at both locations, especially on a busy weekend night.

Jose's offers standard, quick, non-spectacular Americanized Mexican fare with some interesting options added for good measure. If you conflate your ideals of what you expect to find at a 6th Street Mexican restaurant in Milwaukee with the menu of a bar appetizer list, you'll have Jose's menu at your fingertips.

Starters like ranchero wings ($6.95) and jalapeno poppers (jalawhoppers, $6.45) join nachos ($6.25) and a tableside guacamole ($7.65), for a Mexican meets American dining spin.

The tableside guacamole is a fun addition to the menu, and is mixed fresh at your table in record time. Jalapenos, onions, avocado, cilantro and tomato make up the mix -- the making of which is entertaining to watch -- and pleasantly hot, but is conspicuously missing a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

The entrée section of Jose's menu mirrors the appetizers, with hamburgers ($5.95-$7.95) and a Southside of Philly beef sandwich ($7.75) adjacent to tacos ($8.25) and burritos ($9.25).

Chicken enchiladas ($9.75) rolled three corn tortillas with shredded chicken in a tomato heavy enchilada sauce that tasted closer to a marinara. Beans and rice are standard accompaniments with the enchiladas and most of the Platos Especiales that venture into seafood combinations with chipotle cream sauces (seafood burritos, $13.95) and roasted chicken with potatoes (Benjamin Adrian's Pollo Ala Parrilla, $12.45). And while tack tacos ($8.25) with beef were unremarkable, they were on par with other Mexican restaurants of this genre.

Service at Jose's was fast and flawless, and a pitcher of water pre-positioned on our table guaranteed there was never a moment with an empty glass. All told, even on the evening with the 45-minute wait, we were in and out in under 90 minutes with our food flying out of the kitchen almost as we ordered it.


Talkbacks

zach01 | Nov. 11, 2008 at 2:22 p.m. (report)

only been there once for a friends bday. quite possibly the blandest food i've ever tasted, and we waited over an hour for it. the fact that a place like this gets so much attention in the 'burbs is one of the many reasons i do my best to stay downtown.

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older/wiser | Nov. 11, 2008 at 7:38 a.m. (report)

Comparing Blue Sombrero to Chi Chi's is completely accurate. If you enjoy very good chili rellenos...now I'm not saying authentic....DO NOT order them here. Totally agree with another post that Mi Cucina, a couple miles east on Bluemound, is a much better choice for Mexican food.

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InTheView | Nov. 10, 2008 at 12:19 p.m. (report)

Who would drive all the way out to Brookfield for a Mexican restaurant? I'd rather stay closer to home and go to anything on/off of National Avenue.

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jalisciense | Nov. 10, 2008 at 11:50 a.m. (report)

This reviewer strikes me as particularly uninitiated as regards Mexican cuisine. To say that the menu at Jose's is an ideal fusion of authentic barrio cooking and bar food is a completely false statement. Authentic Mexican cooking, like many traditional diets around the world but not here in the U.S., uses all parts of the animal and many specialties and delicacies are from the tongue, cheeks, and internal organs of the animal. Implying that Jose's menu somehow reflects the diversity of Mexican food is an insult. The truth is that Jose's cooking is a reflection of how terribly we Americans eat. Deep fried, covered in melted cheese with sour cream on every plate, with the ubiquitous and boring options of chicken, beef, and refried beans (which Mexican restaurants here turn into an horrific experience), no self-respecting Mexican would actually serve any of this nonsense in their own home.

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svdodge | Nov. 10, 2008 at 10:54 a.m. (report)

I've been to Jose's twice. Out of a total of 6 meals ordered, they screwed up 3. Neither night was super busy. Neither waiter/waitress was new. Neither order was tough or heavily modified. It's not fun when the two people you're eating with have to keep sending back food for glaring mistakes. And the table-side guacamole isn't any better than what my mom makes at home (though it is decent, and they give you a lot of it). I guess I just haven't been impressed with Jose's. I'd rather go to Mi Cucina's just down the road on Bluemound. A little more traditional, the decor isn't as nice, but solidly good food.

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