Hot or Not?

El Scorcho promises a chile reception.

Of the many sides, my favorites were the thick, beer-battered onion rings and the very creamy "Maco & Cheeso." Grilled corn on a stick was a delight once I added butter — though there was no stick to be seen. The green beans were served with a sinful amount of chopped bacon. The "Scorcho" beans were really just boring black beans, and the French fries, though crisp and hot, had almost no flavor.

I should also mention El Scorcho's chicken wings, which are quite plump and very tasty. I tried the wings in a sauce of honey with chile and garlic, and while there wasn't enough heat or bite to overcome the sweetness, a few shakes of hot sauce solved the problem.

I wish the other dishes could be improved so easily. But even if the burrito or the fajitas or the pulled "porko" were better executed, I'd still wonder: What's the point? El Scorcho might have been interesting twenty years ago, when for many Americans Tex-Mex and Mexican were synonymous terms that meant Taco Bell and Old El Paso. Today we know much more about food and are eager to keep learning. Given how adept Mike Johnson has proven himself at making lesser-known or newly trendy cuisines accessible to St. Louis, El Scorcho is a disappointment: a hip bar with cheap grub and a "theme" that seems custom-made for Branson.

Blazing saddles: With a few exceptions, Maplewood's El Scorcho's fiery kitch outshines its kitchen.
Jennifer Silverberg
Blazing saddles: With a few exceptions, Maplewood's El Scorcho's fiery kitch outshines its kitchen.

Location Info

Map

Las Palmas-Maplewood

7356 Manchester
Maplewood, MO 63143

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Maplewood

Details

Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.

Chips and salsa...$3
Chicken wings...$6
Beef brisket plate...$8.50

7356 Manchester Rd, Maplewood; 314-644-5566.

That chubby donkey will look great on a T-shirt.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

For more about food and St. Louis restaurants, visit Gut Check: blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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