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Friday, December 18, 2015

Topeka, KS: Full Parking Lot, Open Arms, Good Food ... So-So Guacamole

El Centenario
1306 South Kansas Ave
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: (785) 783-8968

After driving 30 miles to visit another highly touted Mexican restaurant nearby where we were turned away because they were closed during business hours "for routine maintenance", we drove to El Centenario. The parking lot was nearly full on a Tuesday night ... normally, a good sign.

We were quickly seated because the place is pretty big and chips and salsa soon arrived. They had a 99 Cent margarita special going, so I ordered one ... OLE! We also ordered their famous white cheese dip ($3.50) and, being my birthday, a large guacamole ($6.50). The chips were good and hot, but the salsa was nothing special, so I asked for the "hot" version which was a little better. The cheese dip was good, nothing special and the guacamole was terrible. Beside the tomato, onion, and jalapeños, there was something strange about it, like they added Imo or sour cream to increase yield. Either that or they used inferior (Hass avocados should be used) or unripe avocados. Whatever they did, it was one of the worst guacamoles I have ever had.
My wife had the torta (sandwich) Milanesa ($7.50), a thin breaded and pan-fried beef cutlet on a Mexican bread roll with mayo, lettuce, avocado and onion (tomato on the side because my wife is allergic) with French fries. It was pretty good, one of the better tortas I have had and the fries were hot and crispy.
I ordered the usual on my first visit, tacos and enchiladas. I ordered one hard shell taco ($1.75) and two traditional Mexican tacos (served on two soft corn tortillas), one with carne asada (they spell it "azada") and one with carnitas, and a side order of cheese and onion enchiladas. The hard taco was not bad, coming on the usual pre-fab shell with nicely flavored ground beef and lettuce and Mexican white cheese. Not bad. The soft shell tacos were excellent, coming on two large corn tortillas each and piled high with meat, some onion, cilantro and accompanied by sliced, fresh lime just as they should. Bueno! Finally, the enchiladas had just the right amount of deliciously seasoned red chili sauce and cheese and were baked to perfection. I have to say, these were the best enchiladas I have had in a very long time ... OLE!
It was too bad that the guacamole ruined what would have been an outstanding meal and I told the manager about the guacamole problem when were paying our bill, but all he said was "i'll check it out", not "I'm sorry, let me take that off your check". Otherwise, we were very happy with our meal and will likely return to see if the guacamole problem was a one off deal because it it was not, I will send it back to the kitchen.

CombatCritic Gives El Centenario 7 Bombs Out Of 10 (And An "S&G!" For You Military Types) ... With A Two Bomb Deduction For The Guac (One For The Guacamole And One For The Manager Who Shrugged His Shoulders) ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "Elite '14/'15"

TripAdvisor - "Top Contributor" 

Tabelog - "Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - "#1 Ranked Foodie"

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View my food journey on Zomato!Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic

El CentenarioEl Centenario
El Centenario Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Title: Topeka, KS: Full Parking Lot, Open Arms, Good Food ... So-So Guacamole

Key Words: El Centenario, el, centenario, Topeka, Kansas, KS, Mexican, Mexico, taco, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Tabelog, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: "S&G" = Shits and Grins

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