4993 Niagara Avenue
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
I have driven by the “Blue Parrot” many times in the past few years. I think that my husband and I went there one time when “Nati’s” was busy and there was a wait. As I remember the prices were higher than Nati’s, and we were not impressed with the meal. That is probably why I haven’t been back.
However, today was Sunday and I had been to a dance competition – will write it up later -and the Pt. Loma Democrats meeting, and I just didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my two students – Monica and Natsumi. I decided rather than go to a restaurant I had already reviewed I would take them to the Blue Parrot – and that way my “editordude” won’t ask me if I am going to do any more reviews in Ocean Beach!
I was amazed how empty they were at 6:45pm on a Sunday night. Raglan’s across the street was humming, and Nati’s seemed busy also. There were only two tables occupied; a couple at the bar and a singleton also at the bar. He was later joined by a foxy man – Chad – and one more table was filled while we were there.
Their menu was extensive – Appetizers started at $2 and went up to $14.50. The Quesadilla’s started at $4.95 and went $8.50; the range for Tacos was $3.25-$3.95. Also offered are Enchiladas, Specialties, Fajitas, Burritos, Salads, Soups, Burgers and Breakfast menus. Additionally there is a children’s menu.
There was music playing outside, and at least two televisions were on inside. The noise was not bad, and I suspect that part of that was because it was so empty. (It should be noted that there was a festival going on in Little Italy as well as the Portuguese festival in Point Loma that might have accounted for the emptiness.)
Our delightful waitress, Katie, took our drink order and when I asked if they had raspberry iced tea, she said they only had regular iced tea. I ordered that. Monica ordered a coke, and Natsumi ordered a Sprite.
After some discussion, Monica ordered a fish burrito – $7.75 – and she asked that there not be any beans served with it. Katie asked if she wanted rice, and Monica said “yes.” Natsumi ordered a shrimp burrito but a few minutes after taking her order, Katie came back and apologized and said they had run out of shrimp 20 minutes ago. Natsumi changed her order to a chicken burrito, again with no beans and only rice. I ordered a Carne Asada Quesadilla, for $6.75 and a bowl of Tortilla Soup at $2.95.
After a short time, our food arrived, all hot and presented well. I would have preferred to have had my tortilla soup served before my Quesadilla, but it was too late to mention that.
But the girls’ burritos were the only thing on the plate besides a little lettuce and tomato. Apparently rice and beans did not come with the burrito, and the rice they asked for was inside the burrito. My quesadilla was a flour tortilla cut in fourths, with a bit of guacamole, sour cream, and the lettuce/tomato mixture on the side.
The tortilla soup was a disappointment. It tasted like tomato soup from a can, with a few crispy tortilla strips and cheese crumbled on the top. It did have carrots, onions and peppers in it, but for all the world I would be hard-pressed to identify it as tortilla soup. There was no spice to it, nor was there any “Mexican flavoring” on anything that we had to eat.
Monica, who likes spicy food, was disappointed in her fish burrito. She said it tasted like “something was missing.” As we analyzed it, we realized it was that there was no salsa in the burrito nor was there any offered on the table. (There was a container of ketchup, however, but nothing we would use for what we were eating.) Natsumi had never had a burrito before, but she had said that if she knew the rice would be inside the burrito she would not have ordered it. Monica also pointed out that at most Mexican restaurants chips and salsa are served complimentary but if we wanted any it would have cost us $2.
When Katie gave me the bill, I was charged $10.20 for each burrito. I looked at my notes and found that the menu price I had written down was $7.75. I called it to Katie’s attention and she went to check on it. She came back and told me that there was a new owner and they weren’t up to date on their prices, BUT she said it was more because of the order of rice. There was nothing that I could do about it – I did not realize the rice was extra – but Katie did change the total amount of the meal from $39.70 to $37.65, without the tip.
Would I go back to the Blue Parrot again. Definitely not – unless Chad was again at the bar. I suspect that the chef is not Mexican, or the clientele is so “gringoized” that they think they are eating Mexican food when they are not. It would not surprise me if they have trouble staying in business if they are counting on the diners to eat and not drink. Perhaps that is why the restaurant was so empty. I should have stayed home and cooked dinner. It would have been far superior to what we had there.