Mystery Diner in DeKalb: El Jimador creates standout dining experience
By MYSTERY DINER
For a word that can mean something small and insignificant, shrimp can tell you a lot about a restaurant. How are they seasoned? Are they cooked well or dried out? Good quality or long frozen? Did you get just two?
At El Jimador Mexican Grill in DeKalb, the shrimp stole the show on the nachos, a hard feat to accomplish on a plate also including chicken and steak. But the fancy, sit-down Mexican grill also rocked the other dishes, from appetizer to dessert and everything in between.
The nachos were amazing. At first glance, the portion appeared smaller than most plates of nachos, and, while technically true, it’s a good thing. They serve significantly fewer chips than the average restaurant, but just as much or more of the toppings. It makes for a filled chip in every bite. And boy howdy those toppings – a creamy cheese sauce that was delectable; the aforementioned three types of meat highlighted by about six to eight perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned shrimp; grilled nopales; and grilled corn. There’s usually not that much shrimp on a dish even when it’s the only meat; the fact that there was that amount when served with two others was impressive.
The other adult entree we tried was the fajitas. They apparently use the fajitas meat on the nachos, so again the meat was perfectly seasoned. Those looking for the signature sizzle of the plate when it comes out may be disappointed, but again it paid off. Fajitas sometimes get dry as the meat continues to cook on the scorching hot plate. The meat didn’t overcook here. And most impressively, the toppings they give you on the side are enormous. No need to ration out the salsa over each tortilla. There was enough of all the toppings (except maybe the guacamole, but that’s to be expected) to lavish on every tortilla as desired.
We also got a sampling of kids’ meals, the burrito, enchilada and taco, picking chicken for all three. The portions were great for a $5 kids meal, and the rice and beans on the side also were tasty. The enchilada sauce stood out as being surprisingly sweet. It did have a slight kick, but the sweetness was an unexpected and pleasant surprise on the dish.
The guacamole prepared tableside ($10) was an enjoyable, light appetizer, with a charm and flavor impossible to achieve at home without a ton of practice.
You might have to skip an appetizer when there’s a dessert as delectable as the churros – six pieces of fried, flavorful dough served surrounding a dish of luscious French vanilla ice cream. An amazing cap to an amazing meal.
Throw in some complimentary and delicious chips and salsa – nice thick chips and salsa with a kick but not overwhelmingly spicy - and you’ve got a Mexican restaurant worth checking out.
• The Mystery Diner is a Daily Chronicle employee who reports on their experience at local restaurants. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.