eat: Desperado.

Hi everyone!
This week’s date night experience was interesting to say the least. We did something we have never done before, got pissy and didn’t pay for our whole bill.
It started off good. The restaurant has several promising reviews, people were eating yummy looking stuff when we walked in, and we were seated right away.
I noticed the walls covered in sombreros and maracas, with mariachi music playing in the background. I think we could have figured out that it was Mexican eatery without all the decor, but whatever floats your boat. It made ponder a Canadian restaurant in Mexico. Maple leafs and hockey sticks all over the walls, the Voyageur song playing in the background, maple syrup and bacon on every table… seems a little excessive.

Oh well. Moving on.

Jordan enjoyed his Corona with lime and we placed our orders. Jordan went for a big appetizer platter because he wanted to try a little of everything, and I decided on alambre (a skewer of chicken, with grilled veggies, covered in smoked chipotle mayo and cheese and served over Spanish rice).

And then we waited.
And waited.
And waited.
We realized that our food was taking kind of long to show up.
Then the group of 4 that arrived after us got their meals.
And we waited.
Then the power went out and it was hilarious.
When that stopped being funny, we waited.
No less than 40 minutes and possibly about 50 minutes later, Jordan’s appetizer platter showed up. We were not happy, and starving.
Then we waited some more, because it took another 10 minutes for my food to show up.


From what we were told, it was either our fault because we showed up at the same time as another group, or it was the servers’ fault because they put in the orders at the same time.

It seemed like even though the restaurant wasn’t busy, no one thought waiting an hour for food was a problem.

The owner did not come out to talk to us personally, even though he knew we were not happy and had been waiting for a lonnng time, which struck me as totally unprofessional.

When it came time to pay the bill, there was absolutely no way I was paying over $50 when we had to wait for an hour. We asked the servers what they could do for us, who asked the owner what they could do. He told them “nothing”. Classy.
Luckily our servers (the owner’s daughter and wife) did not agree with him, and discreetly took my meal off the bill. Thank you ladies! 🙂

I don’t know if they were just having a bad day or half the kitchen staff quit or something, but the ownership was enough to prevent me from ever going back.

Moving on, here is Jordan’s huge appetizer platter.

He said it was really good. I had a couple bites, a tacquito-type thing here (yum) and a fried cheesy jalapeno (yum) there, and it was tasty.

When I finally got my alambre, I was pleased with the food. It was good! I was eating bites of chicken/veggie from the skewer with forkfuls of Spanish rice, and it was flavorful but not too spicy, cheesy, the meat was nice and tender.
I was happy with my meal, once it showed up. Happy enough to give this place (mostly the owner) the chance to make it up to us? Update: Hahahahah. No.

I’m going to give the food an 8.5/10. It was really, really good. I liked my dish here better than Carlos & Murphy’s.
Update: Changed my mind. True, I did like my dish better than Carlos & Murphy’s, but I think I was at the point of being so starving anything would have tasted good. Downgrading the food to a 7/10.

The service. I’m at a loss here. I truly believe our servers did the best they could, and they made our experience much better in the end.
But having customers waiting for an hour for food and not caring enough to come talk to them or offer them compensation is unacceptable.
What if those customers review restaurants in their spare time and will put a dent in your restaurants reputation? OWNERSHIP FAIL.

We finished off the evening with a trip to Marble Slab, coupon in hand.

Cheesecake ice ream with Reese cups and Reese’s pieces, and chocolate ice cream with cookie dough. Yuuum. Thank goodness it’s pretty much impossible to screw up Marble Slab.

Anyone have something really good to say about Desperado? Something that will convince me to go back? Also, tell me your nightmare dinner experience stories. I’d love to hear ’em.

That’s it for today, hope everyone is having a great week! I’ll be posting a super cute Easter cupcake idea soon.

Desperado on Urbanspoon



  1. frank zee · · Reply

    instead of stiffing them for the free dinner..why go back?

  2. Getting $14 off an approx. $50 meal doesn’t qualify as “stiffing” or “free”.
    I also didn’t say I was going back. If I do, it’s because the food was delicious, and I want to give the restaurant a better review if they provide better service.

    Also, your comment doesn’t make sense.

  3. Laura · · Reply

    I would say go back out of morbid curiosity about if the slowness was a usual thing or if they were just having an off night. I went last night, and although it wasnt super speedy, as in entrees appearing the moment the last morsel of the appetizer was consumed, it was still a decent pace for a relaxed meal. They must read these reviews, because service was a little TOO attentive. Along with the server checking in a little too often, the cook even came out and asked how we were liking things, and gave a comical grunt of approval when we said everything tasted great.

    1. I think we just got unlucky, because it seemed like we were the only people in the restaurant waiting a long time, and it wasn’t very busy. It makes no sense.
      I might go back out of curiosity, like you said. I’ll wear a fake mustache or something though, because I have a feeling they’ll remember us, and I like my alambre without spit in it.

      I’m glad you had a better experience than I did, I hope the owner/chef read my review and is giving a damn about customers now. The servers could probably tone it down though lol.

  4. […] We got our food super fast. I actually timed it: 6 minutes. A crazy busy restaurant can have two fresh, full meals out in 6 minutes, and Desperado couldn’t manage two meals in an hour. […]

  5. Max Rocan · · Reply

    I have visited the restaurant on my last two visits to Winnipeg and have found it to be the only authentic Mexican eatery in the city. I have always found the service top notch. Too bad about your experience there, power going is to be blamed on Manitoba Hydro one would think.
    Next time I am in Winnipeg I will certainly return to eat at Desperado’s.

    1. Whatever floats your boat.

  6. Obvious but the comments, you guys haven’t been to La Bamba Restaurant at 22-222 Osborne Street. Only Mexican Restaurant in Winnipeg that is owned by Mexicans. But as the theme of this review, what ever floats your boat!

    1. Nope, I haven’t been to La Bamba, but I’ve heard good things and definitely want to try it.
      A good Mexican restaurant with good service would definitely float my boat.

  7. I had an excellent experience at Desperado, great service, great food….questionable neighborhood though

  8. The owner has been a work aquaintence of mine (in an unrelated industry) for several years. There had been occasions when he had cooked for our whole crew and it was fabulous. When I ran into him more recently and discovered that he actually opened his own restaurant, I had to check it out. I took my wife and son and we were not disappointed. All of the food was prepared fresh. He even made a new batch of salsa when we arrived because his batch for that day had run low. We had to wait a bit but it was worth it. I’ll admit that knowing the owner could have factored into the quality of service we got but the food was awesome! I had the Chimichanga, wife had an Enchilada and son had Pollo Chipotle.
    I’ll admit, the owner is more of an artist in the kitchen than a businessman. That’s why I went. That’s why I’ll go again and bring more friends.

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