I wasn’t too excited about visiting this place on the day that we did. That day was actually reserved for Eat. Art. Theater. (E.A.T) but as it turned out, when we arrived at the address for E.A.T. the restaurant had been closed and the establishment had changed ownership. I was sad, because E.A.T. really sounded like a place I would have enjoyed. So, as we were headed back to Vancouver, I remembered that I had a voucher for El Valle and we decided to visit. And even though this wasn’t the place we had planned on visiting that day, as it turned out, we found a great place for Mexican fare.
Location: 6700 NE 162nd Avenue, Suite #713, Vancouver, Washington
Order: We ordered a plate of Nachos for an appetizer and I ordered the Combination Plate with a Chicken Enchilada and a Chili Relleno. To drink, I ordered a HORCHATA!
What I Think:
Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, there was still some lingering disappointment when we first arrived at El Valle… not in El Valle itself, but in the fact that we didn’t get to visit E.A.T. But my disappointment disappeared rapidly when we ordered. I noticed there was horchata on the menu (and this tends to be one of THE deciding factors for me on whether or not I’ll revisit a place … whether or not they have horchata!)
But when it came time to order, our server informed me that they were “out” of horchata. I was visibly disappointed, and my husband remarked “this happens every time we visit a Mexican restaurant. She sees horchata on the menu, and they don’t end up having it.” At that, the server said, “I can make more.” And they did! And it was delicious! Yay!
The salsa served at the start (with still-warm, freshly made chips) tasted very fresh. A lot of tomato in it, with very little cilantro and onion in comparison to the amount of tomatoes … but I like tomatoes, and it had a nice level of spice to it. I was becoming more and more encouraged with each bite that I was in for some good Mexican food!
The nachos were also quite tasty. They were smothered in refried beans and loaded with cheese. Not a cheese sauce… but shredded cheese that was all melted and gooey. They also had a dollop of sour cream and guacamole on top, and I love guacamole, so I ate the side with the guacamole, while my husband prefers sour cream … so guess which side he ate from? This is really how I love nachos. Sure, there could have been other toppings … maybe some fresh tomatoes or something, but, I liked these just the way they were. Delicious and very filling!
So filling, in fact, that I found it difficult to finish my combination plate. I did manage to eat a good portion of it, though! The relleno was delicious. Chili rellenos are another “deciding” factor for me when it comes to Mexican restaurants. If their chili rellenos do not impress me, I won’t be back. They are like a Mexican staple for me, and my stepmother could even make a decent chili relleno, so if a Mexican restaurant cannot make a good one, I won’t return.
But this one was good. It was stuffed full of cheese, and it had a moderate amount of mild heat from the chili and the batter was light and cooked through (yes, I’ve had chili rellenos that had uncooked egg-y stuff between the cooked outside and the chili … and it was revolting. Which is why, as I said above, if I go to a place with bad chili rellenos, I won’t be returning).
The chicken enchilada was also quite good. The chicken was flavorful and very tender. It seemed to melt in the mouth. The side of Spanish seasoned rice was tasty, as was the side of cheese topped refried beans. I didn’t eat too much of either of the rice or the beans, because I had really filled up from the nachos appetizer.
My Final Thoughts:
I will definitely be happy to revisit El Valle. The flavors that I wanted were there. I left full and satisfied. And the fact that they had horchata and even made a fresh batch of it for me really REALLY impressed me. So, yes, this has elevated El Valle to my favorite Mexican restaurant in this area. Other Mexican restaurants, take note: I want HORCHATA! But as for El Valle: We will be back.