Since we had the fish meal last night, I told my husband this morning that he could take the leftover Mexican food for lunch and I would take the last vegetable sandwich (since I knew he’d prefer the Mexican)…and then after making sure he had something I forgot my lunch, darnit.
As I was sitting at work debating my lunch options I remembered that El Caporal is only a few minutes from my work and I had meant to do a review of them anyway (although it got derailed by margaritas). Since I wasn’t going to be drinking on my lunch break (unfortunately), I figured I could knock two birds out with one stone.
Apparently El Caporal is a small chain of restaurants with three locations in Kentucky and one up in Mason.
After walking in I was immediately seated and my server appeared to offer me a drink (which was, once again, unfortunately a Coke and not a tasty margarita). He also brought chips and salsa with him. The chips were the normal kind you get in most Mexican restaurants (at least around here) and the salsa was just a basic tomato salsa. I kept wishing that it had a bit of kick or tang to it, maybe some onion, lime juice, or jalapeno. I ended up mixing in a little hot sauce to give it a little more flavor.
El Caporal features daily specials, and a carnitas lunch special on the board by the restaurant’s door had caught my eye. After ordering I headed to the bathroom. I know it might seem weird to others but one of the ways I judge restaurants is by their bathroom (and who else has noticed that Japanese/Sushi places usually have the best?). While the bathroom was a basic neutral, it was extremely clean – you could literally scent the Lysol in the air. Overall, a clean bathroom is always a good sign.
After returning to my table, I waited around 10 minutes and then he brought out my lunch (and also checked on me prior to that to see if I needed anything). Let me just say that I’m a sucker for pork. When I was younger I used to say that I was a carnivore, although now I do know the value of eating a healthy balanced diet and limiting my meat intake, but I still love it.
This plate was huge. I want to say there was probably 6 – 8 oz of carnitas meat that was fork tender. The menu description says that their carnitas are made up of “large chunks of pork seasoned and deep fried until crisp on the outside”. I didn’t notice any crispiness on the outside but I didn’t miss it. The meat itself was seasoned well, super tender and really delicious. It was also covered in sautéed onions and I’m always a fan of sautéed onions. My only issue with it is that I wished it had a sauce on it. The description for the dinner portion says that it comes with a tomatillo sauce and I think it could have really benefitted from it. Maybe because it was a lunch special they don’t use the tomatillo sauce? I easily remedied the lack or it though by putting some of the salsa from the chips and extra hot sauce on the pork.
The beans and guacamole salad served on the side were your basic Mexican restaurant fare. I love their rice though. It’s different from what most restaurants serve, very light and fluffy, not greasy at all. Three flour tortillas also came on the side and I enjoyed making a “taco” with the carnitas and guacamole salad.
During the time the server checked on me again, and the manager came by to see how everything was so I can’t fault them on their service.
My total bill came to $8.40 which for a lunch I’ll be getting two meals out of (or more likely I got lunch out of and my husband will end up eating the rest given his love of Mexican food) and a drink it was more than worth it. My payment was processed immediately (I saw the server hovering over the side of a short wall) but I appreciated his speed of service and the fact that he wasn’t directly hovering at my table. Don’t you hate when you eat out somewhere and you’re playing “Where’s my server?” This was not the case here.
Overall, it was a super tasty quick meal at a good price. I’d probably put El Caporal above a few of the other local Mexican restaurants in town (based on the tastiness of the carnitas and rice in combination with service). I also noticed a sign on the table saying that they have other lunch specials which include a drink for $5.99 so something to keep in mind.