El Queso Mexican Grill: Delivering Fast-Casual Tex-Mex to Your Door--or should we say Lightning Fast?

Delivery Quote Time: 10 Minutes
Actual Delivery Time: 10 Minutes
Delivering in less than 30 Minutes: 30 points
Freshness of Food: 20 points
Queso without Zip: Minus Five Points
All Menu Items Less Than Seven Bucks: 20 Points
Everything Clearly Labeled and Packaged: 10 Points
Total Score: 75 Points

El Queso Mexican Grill is merely the newest outpost of one of the hottest fast-casual concepts of the last 20 years, the build-your-own burrito place best exemplified by Chipotle, Qdoba, and Freebirds. However, this is the first one I've encountered that actually delivered their fresh fare, and my wife and I couldn't believe they promised they would have it at our doorstep in 10 minutes. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, they came knocking. For us, this was clearly the most impressive feature about ordering from El Queso.

Freshness ran a close second. My wife ordered the grilled chicken bowl, with white rice, salsa, black beans, peppers, tomatoes, and sour cream. The chicken breast was cut into small pieces, which actually meant that they were more thoroughly sautéed than if they had been presented as whole strips. My entrée consisted of soft tacos, two grilled steak and one grilled chicken. The chicken was good, but the steak was better, well seasoned and marinated. Both entrees tasted hot off the grill, which was no doubt aided greatly by the quick delivery time. Only the chips and white queso came off as lackluster, the chips unsalted and rather flavorless, and the queso bland and in need of extra fire.

Another plus to ordering from El Queso: Everything was clearly labeled and packaged snugly in containers with see-through tops. I much prefer these to Styrofoam containers, because then you can clearly identify the contents and hand it directly to the person who ordered it. Also, these containers are less likely to crack open during travel, resulting in unsightly food leakage. The entire tab was under 20 bucks, tip included.

Since it was a lovely late spring evening when we ordered, we dined alfresco on our patio on a tiny dining set purchased just for that purpose. We're always puzzled to look around our neighborhood at all the beautiful balconies sitting idle just waiting for someone to enjoy the perfect weather and excellent views. The two of us indulge our outdoor fantasy every chance we get. Enough said.

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