We have a condo close by and were really excited to see the US Bar open. We were aware of its roots in Matamoros, and ate at the Drive Inn years ago (very good), but US Bar is hit and miss. After two dinners and a lunch, here is my take, and I’m not surprised that the feedback varies from “great” to “worst”.
On our first night, our family of four had great service and the meals were generally good with the exception of the stuffed flounder, which was not good. The Tampiquena Steak was good, but the steak was fist sized so that was disappointing, but overall it was good.
Our second visit was rather curious as we ate lunch and encountered a poorly trained staff. We started with an order of “Panchos”, which anyone from that area knows as bean and cheese nachos. The waiter had to turn around and ask if “we have Panchos?”! Seriously, do you need to ask if they have chips and salsa? But, he was nice enough and tried, though it was clear he had little to no training. On top of it, our kids’ meals came out well after ours, and there were maybe ten other folks in the restaurant at the time, so moderately disappointing.
On our last trip, we gathered with a large group on a Friday night and the place was doing good business. Our waiter did a fairly good job of managing a large table, but it became clear to me that there was not a central individual (GM) managing the restaurant as you’d typically see. It was fairly chaotic. I did notice the menus had changed and they added many more items (maybe not a good thing for this place), and several of the menus were missing sections, so the group had to pass around the missing sections from person to person. I noted the Tampiquena plate had curiously changed with quesadillas replacing an enchilada and tamale. My wife ordered this anyway, and it actually worked out as the steak was far more substantial this time and generally good. I decided to play what I thought was a safe bet and order the filet mignon…..mistake. Our meals took a long time to arrive and we were told the “steaks are holding it up”. Medium rare stakes don’t take long so this was baffling to me. When the steaks arrived, I soon learned why. It was very apparent they were frozen and quickly thawed (my buddy’s literally had a hole in the middle of it). As my buddy put it, “this is the driest medium rare steak I’ve ever had”. While it appeared medium rare, the juices were gone, and the meat was below Select grade as my temples grew sore chewing it. Overall, the group had fun (margaritas were good and served in great glassware), but the food was below average.
This place has a ton of potential, and I’m rooting for it, but they need to do a good deal of training and kitchen management to deliver a consistent level of food and service.
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