El Rey Azteca Mexican Restaurant
of 1 reviews
2834 Valley Ave, Winchester, VA - Map
On Sunday, August 21, 2016, my daughter and I had lunch at El Rey Azteca, 2834 Valley Avenue, in Winchester, Virginia. I had discovered on the previous Tuesday that this new Mexican restaurant had opened about a month ago, and today was our first opportunity to dine here. The telephone number is (540) 773-3741, and carryout and dine-in service are available.
The Azteca is open every day from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. It’s located in a small strip center, next door to Mercado Santa Fe, a Hispanic grocery at 2836 Valley Avenue at one end of the strip. There’s also a Dollar General store at 2824 Valley Avenue, at the other end of the strip; its large sign will help you find the location.
The entrance has no vestibule, and opens into a small room that has a dark imitation tile floor and a few tables. The desk in the center for a receptionist was not occupied, and we went through a door toward the front of the left wall to a larger adjoining dining room.
That connected space has its own address of 2832 Valley Avenue, and its outside entrance also has no vestibule. The floor is light-colored imitation tile, and the ceiling also is a light color. The only decorations in either room were small, elaborately ornamented Mexican hats.
A large, L-shaped bar along the back of this room’s right wall has ten stools and a TV screen displaying an American sports channel. Other seating here is seven booths along the left wall, several round tables in the center of the room, and a couple of square tables along the right wall.
There’s a small open window in the wall between the two rooms. A TV screen near the door from the other room was displaying a Spanish language program. The English-language background music wasn’t intrusive.
The menu is two double-sided sheets inserted in a large plastic folder. The front cover has a picture representing Montezuma, the legendary king of the Aztec empire in historic Mexico. The categories listed on the two inner pages include Especiales de Casa/House Specialties, with Meat Choices such as Pork, Beef, Goat, and Chicken.
One of the dishes available is Menudo/Mondongo (beef tripe). Other categories are Mariscos/Seafood, Menu Para Niños/Kid’s Menu, Postres/Desserts, and Bebidas/Drinks. I thought the selections somewhat limited.
Although it was noon, we were the only patrons and no others came in during our stay. Our server was Emily, who was born in Texas. We were served the usual tortilla chips, with salsa provided in a handmade clay bowl that attracted my daughter’s comment.
For drinks, we asked for Coca-Colas after ascertaining that they were really bottled in Mexico (Hecho en Mexico), where they are made with real sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup.
My daughter ordered Huarache Azteca, a large handmade tortilla topped with beans, lettuce, sour cream, and her choice of pork for the meat. I chose Carne Asada, grilled beef slices served with salad, rice, and refried beans, topped with cheese, and handmade tortillas.
The food was delivered on large, oval ceramic platters, slightly warmed. My salad was three slices of tomato on shredded lettuce, topped with four slices of avocado. The three small tortillas were wrapped in foil.
We would have liked to have the Flan on the menu for dessert; however, Emily said that no desserts were available today. The other choice would have been Gelatina de leche/Gelatin.
My daughter enjoyed her dish, but I found that my order’s beef slices were difficult to cut because they weren’t very tender, and I wouldn’t order it again. I would choose a chicken or pork dish on a future visit, or perhaps seafood.
I’m not ready to place El Rey Azteca on my keeper list at this time. I would think that a place that had been open for a month would have had at least one dessert on hand and another visit is needed for me to make a more informed rating.
The previous occupant of 2832 Valley Avenue was another Hispanic restaurant called Pupaseria Puerto La Union, and before that it was an Italian place called Fratelli’s Italian Grill, serving good pizza.
Incidentally, I had been waiting for almost two years for El Rey Azteca to open; my first knowledge of its coming was its beverage license application in The Winchester Star in October, 2014.