Also remember that anyone can make a suggestion and if I am able I will go there and review the restaurant. I’m also looking for chefs, restaurant owners and others in the food industry to do interviews with. If you have someone in mind let me know and I’ll make the contact.
Now on to the review proper.
El Canaveral sits unassumingly on the south side of Milwaukee on 25th and Greenfield. The neighborhood is a quiet area that is primarily residential with a small business strip.
Walking into El Canaveral for the first time I was greeted with a well appointed bar but a bit sparse for a restaurant. Wandering farther back we found more seating and we got our first sight of our waiter, Paco. More on Paco later. We were seated and I went around taking pictures inside and out. There is a door that leads to an outside patio area with umbrellaed tables. It was a bit cool the day that we were there but I could picture whiling away the time with little parasol laden drinks in the warmth of the summer. Perhaps next summer.
Sitting down finally, we looked over the menu and ordered some guacamole while listening to some traditional Mexican or south American music. While we made guacamole our appetizer our main dish was called “Parrillada” for 2 people. Translation “Barbecue”. While we were waiting Paco brought out some hand cut tortilla chips that had been fried and 4 different sauces. Of the 4 sauces there was a salsa, a very orange looking sauce that we were told was spicy, a very green looking sauce, and a reddish sauce. I’ll start with the traditional salsa, it was fine nothing novel it was what you can find at hundreds of Mexican themed restaurants around the country. The salsa was OK but nothing extraordinary. However the orange sauce really drew my attention. This orange sauce I believe is dairy based but what was really striking about it was the amazing day glow orange. Beautifully collored it was spicy and it probably is a habanero pepper blend. I liked the creamy texture that was both tasty and unique. The green sauce was similar with a bright green glow to it with a definite jalapeño flavor. I thought that both cream sauces went well with the chips and were something different for a change. The last sauce was a very flavorful concoction that had a bit of a taste bud twang without going overboard.
So after sampling the chips and dips for a while our guacamole came out. This guacamole was bright green. I haven’t had too many guacamole dishes that have ever been this green. I’m not sure if it was because it was so fresh but it was interesting to note. After taking the pictures we starting sampling the goods. This guacamole had a wonderful flavor to it and it had a coarse mash that I find appealing. They certainly didn’t spare the onions and garlic which is alright in my book.
Then our main dish was brought out to us. It was on a small pedestal with a burner inside and on top of that was our extremely meat laden “Parrillada”. We had ordered corn tortillas to accompany our meal and we proceeded to dig in and give it a try. The whole dish was composed of chicken, chorizo (a pork sausage flavored with paprika), pork chops, marinated beef, seasoned pork (yes pork twice), banana peppers, grilled onions, and 4 cheese quesadillas. The parrillada was laid out and displayed nicely. We were using our tortillas to hold the different meats in the meal. Also everything was laying on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes with a sprinkle of season salt.
So the meats were all done pretty well. Perhaps a bit on the overly cooked side. The pork chops were very thinly sliced which helps lower cook times but cook them too long and you’re making jerky. This was right between that point. A bit longer and it would have been too tough. I enjoyed the flavors that was in the dish. Nothing seemed to compete for attention in the dish except for the salt.
Seasoning can make or break a dish and I don’t feel I would steer anyone away from this dish but it was too salty for me.
After my dining partner and I started discussing the food that we were given it was apparent that it was not just me that thought it was over salted.
So my scorecard. This is another difficult decision for me. One one hand the food is not your typical Mexican restaurant fare. Also El Canaveral is doing some unique items that I have not seen in other restaurants so the unique factor is a plus. I loved the guacamole as well. However the main dish is what gets the most weight in making a judgment call and the main dish while being tasty was also extraordinarily salty.
I would say that El Canaveral is a great place to explore and try and the next time we are in the area we’ll have to try another dish to compare. Our service by Paco was wonderful. Paco was friendly, attentive, and gave us a heads up on some of the spicier foods that were were about to embark on.
Overall I give El Canaveral on a scale of 1 to 10 a 6. If I were judging strictly on originality I would go a bit higher.
Give El Canaveral a try and tell me what you think. Am I off my rocker or right on target? Sound off below.
Where is this place?
- El Canaveral
- 2501 W Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- (414) 671-7118