When your favorite Mexican restaurant is closed for some reason that only the food gods know, only one thing can satisfy your Mexican food jones. More Mexican Food. Luckily in Howard County, there are several solid Mexican food restaurants.
Ernesto’s Fine Mexican Restaurant is now more than a year into it’s first foray on the east coast. While it has yet to surpass El Azteca (at least in my book), it’s well on its way to becoming a staple of Howard County dining.
Ernesto’s doesn’t set the world on fire with its menu or creativity, but honestly that’s not what I’m looking for when I want Tex-Mex food. Instead I want something that’s going to hit the spot and make me feel like I ate waaay to much when I leave the restaurant. I know that may not be everyone’s criteria, but that’s mine when I’m having Tex-Mex.
We started with the queso fundido dip, I love getting this dip as I see it as a queso dip on steroids. The chorizo in the fundido dip could’ve been more prevalent rather than the after thought that it kind of is in this dip. Meanwhile, the cheese was less creamy than I’m used to with fundido, but all in all it was still fairly satisfying. It’s served alongside a few tortillas so you can have a fundido taco if you want. The huge portion makes you second guess why you even ordered a regular meal.
The guacamole is unoriginal, but who cares? It was creamy and flavorful, the seasoning in the guacamole was mild so as to not overpower the dip. Again nothing spectacular, but it got the job done.
If you’re dining at Ernesto’s you really can’t go wrong with any of the menu options from the “platillos tejanos or David’s Tacos.” We started with the floutas which were filled with moist well seasoned fresh chicken and chili con queso. The dish itself mimicked much of the other dishes of the night, solid but not spectacular. The hefty portion size leaves you with plenty to take home for lunch the next day (which I happily did).
If the rest of the dishes were unspectacular, the El Jimador made up for it in spades. This is basically a gigantic burrito, stuffed with carnitas, rice, chili con queso, and pico de gallo. It’s SO much food. But it’s spectacular, so spectacular that the pork induced coma that you’re thrown into by the end of it is worth it. The carnitas are perfect, tender and spiced with just the right mixture of cumin, garlic, and coriander. Meanwhile, the chipotle sour cream sauce creates a rich texture to the dish and adds a great flavor profile to the dish.
This dish is a home run and a MUST if you visit. You can split this with your dining partner if you come with your significant other. If not, you’ll have plenty to take home.
Overall Ernesto’s is on the right way towards becoming a great Howard County restaurant. The service is polite and speedy, while the prices are affordable and not restrictive. Ample parking and seating make for a convenient and enjoyable dining experience. Explore the menu as it can be overwhelming with all the delicious options.
Final Grade: B+ – Would definitely visit again, doesn’t quite take down the king of Mexican food in Howard County, El Azteca, but comes close.