Walking in the door, the staff was decked out in sombreros, fake mustaches, and other dress in apparent support of the festival. It was about 1PM and the restaurant, although busy was still only a little more than half full. There were a number of younger (20's) folks out on the patio (3-4 tables) and you could hear some folks were upstairs.
We ordered "water with lemon" all around as well as a set of drinks and set ourselves to the task of looking at the menu. When the water arrived, we were aghast. It looked like a bunch of sippy-cups on a tray. Rather than using real glassware they switched to plastic cups "because of Cinco de Mayo." Our "casual yet sophisticated" dining experience was quickly descending into feeling like we intruded on a frat party. The drinks arrived, after what seemed to be a really long time, also in plastic, beer & Bloody Mary's. There isn't much you can do a beer, but the Bloody Mary's had way too much mix for the amount of alcohol. I have had a Bloody Mary at Cinco before and it was quite acceptable but these were like they were afraid you might get sloppy drunk on one of them so to combat that they added very little, if any vodka. Those mixes are designed to be spicy with the vodka added and are over spicy when there isn't any vodka.
I often judge a Mexican restaurant on its chips and salsa and Cinco's are excellent. The salsa is a dark red with excellent flavor without being hot. The chips were fresh and did not appear to have extra salt added which is good.
|Garnish for Fajitas|
Service was mediocre at best. The waiter forgot to ask my wife how she wanted her beef fajitas cooked and came back and asked her about 20 minutes later how she wanted them. He didn't ask those of us with combination fajitas how we wanted our meat cooked. Also, when my wife and I ordered refills on our Bloody Marys he served one "because he saw it was ready." That would have been fine had he served it to my wife, but he served me instead. (I'm old school - always serve the woman first.) Empty plasticware often stayed on the table after new drinks arrived. Otherwise, the waiter was fine. He refilled waters as needed and brought plenty of lemon slices for our use.
|Even the salsa came in a plastic cup.|
Serving alcohol is certainly more profitable than serving food and it was clear to us that the focus at Cinco was to encourage the frat house party atmosphere rather than being the restaurant I've enjoyed previously. Cinco needs to decide if they are going to be a casual, but elegant, restaurant or a party bar venue.
It will be a long time before we go back.
Ambiance: 4 (Clean, Spacious)
Food: 2 (See comments above)
Service: 3 (Just okay)
Price: 3 (Lunch over $10 per person)
Value: 3 (There is a lot of competition for Mexican food in the area)