I've passed by El Coyote numerous times, the parking lot is always full and on more than one occasion there were customers milling about the front door and the place has been around for as long as I can remember, so naturally I've wondered if the place was really that good, it looked authentic enough from the outside.
So one day as Mr. Borscht and I headed down Beverly going back home from a full day of running errands we decided to give it a try. We were sat immediately and looked in glee at the strung up twinkle lights and eclectic decor of vintage hanging lamps and colorful plastic animal decor, the waitresses all wore traditional colorful mexican dresses, all mounting to a fun site and interesting atmosphere.
Complimentary chips and salsa were served immediately upon sitting down, the chips were great but I was not taken with neither of the salsas, one was chunky and sweeter, tasting more of tomato sauce while the other salsa was slightly watery and tasted more of a roasted flavor, neither one of the salsas stood out in particular and there was a distinct lack of true flavor.
Mr. Borscht ordered the Ranchero Enchilada which was described in the menu as including salsa ranchera, green chilies and sour cream. The enchilada was one regular portion of enchilada covered in ranchera sauce, cheese and green chilies that came with a side of sour cream. Apparently the ranchera sauce is the main feature of this enchilada dish but I found it hardly mouth-watering. It tasted of enchilada, somewhat, underneath all the ranchera salsa and cheese, but once again I found it to lack true flavors. The ranchera salsa is average in taste and so was the enchilada, nothing to boast about and also nothing to order again.
I opted to get a combo that included Vegetarian tamale and Chile Relleno, the combo also came with a side of rice and beans. The combo looked delicious... but looks can be deceiving. The food wasn't bad but it wasn't anything special either. Once again everything lacked true flavor, for example, the vegetarian tamale which was buttery in texture tasted too much of corn and nothing of anything else, the rice and beans were on the drier side (as if it had been over-cooked or more likely heated too long) and sadly the chile relleno which I was much excited about and was beautiful in presentation lacked the full robust flavors of green chile. My only conclusion to the sad tasting green chile was that the main ingredient, the green chile, was not of good quality and therefore lacked the delicious flavor of green chile. The green chile at El Coyote doesn't stand a chance compared to the green chile in the burritos at Cactus (a mexican food shack) also on Beverly which has the most amazing Chile Relleno Burritos and for half the price too.
To sum it up, El Coyote is what I would call a Californian faux-mexican restaurant. The food served is indeed mexican but most definitely lacks the essence and full robust flavors of real mexican food resulting in a very sub-par experience. So if you're craving real mexican food El Coyote is one place I wouldn't suggest going to fulfill that need.
Total Damage: $18.00 +/-
1 #5 Chili Relleno & Tamale combo
1 Ranchera enchilada
7312 Beverly Blvd.
LA CA 90036