I wasn’t expecting a ton from the food at El Hefe, a newish Old Town Scottsdale spot serving up Mexican eats. I figured the bar, which turns into a hopping nightlife destination on weekend nights, would be more notable for its drinks than its cuisine, and I was right.
Not that the place doesn’t look hella cool. It had lots of hot pink accents, including pink lighting and pink walls, which I loved even though it sort of reminded me of the now-closed Pink Taco.
I also thought the art-covered skateboards covering up the walls were neat, as well as the giant drawings of a Mexican wrestler and a Dia de Los Muertos-like skull adorning one of the walls.
Don’t go there just to dine, though. While there were lots of televisions broadcasting sports, and the margaritas were impressive, I was left wanting a lot more with the food. It was too bad the $8 house margarita, at a whopping 20 ounces, couldn’t set the standard for the meal, since that drink was such as killer deal.
The chips and salsa weren’t too bad. The chips were nothing to shout about, but I liked that they were served on a cute cutting board spread along with three different types of salsa–chunky and mild, green and a spicy red. I did like the salsas, although I would have preferred the chips were a little thinner. They were only $3, though, which was pretty cheap, although most places would serve them up for free.
My friend and I tried a couple of the Grilled Mushroom Calabacitas tacos ($3 each). They were filled with lots of veggies, including zucchini and onions, but they were bland and sort of awkward to pick up and hold because the tortillas were tiny compared to the filling. Add a ton of salsa to them to give them a little kick.
We also each had a cheese quesadilla ($7 each). The quesadilla was pitifully tiny, and it was served on wax paper, which caused all the melted cheese to get stuck. These were one of the biggest rip-offs I’ve had, and the presentation was very bare bones, despite the addition of unappetizing pickled baby carrots and a drizzling of goat cheese creme.
There were a couple other things to note about the visit–the napkins at El Hefe seemed to be coming apart and left white threads all over my friend’s and my jeans–not cool if you’re planning on going clubbing in Old Town later. The bartender checked his cell phone more than he checked on us–clearly, we weren’t his first priority. And the menu was really difficult to read, with backwards letters and all-caps. I know that’s a weird thing to notice, but just looking at it gave me a headache.
All that said, skip El Hefe for dinner, and head to the cute and trendy spot for happy hour every day from 3-7 p.m., when those giant margaritas are only $5. Enjoy the ambiance while you drink, and go to here, here, or here in Old Town for dinner instead.