Reflections on Stripmall Eating

Monday, August 28, 2006

Do You Know the Way to Secane?

Name: Hidalgo
Location: 831 Providence Road, Secane.
Personnel: Holly, Me
What We Ate: Complimentary Chips and Salsa; Sopes; Pollo Estilo Hidalgo; Chuleta a la Ranchera
Condiments: Pico de Gallo
Bill Total: $36
Observations: Up until this week, I had never heard of Secane — a bit embarrassing for a lifelong Philly resident. My first trip there was strictly business — or at least the non-deadlined, nonpaid restaurant reviewing business that is this blog. Hidalgo, which opened last year, is owned by the family who operated Xochilmico in Upper Darby. Like Zochilmico, Hidalgo is a casual, neighborhood place. I was hoping we might get serenaded as I had at Xochilmico back in the day, but no such luck. It's BYO and they will provide tequila mixes, which we unfortunately did not get to sample. Our meal started with very good sopas, flat disks of corn topped with ribbons of crisp iceberg, shredded chicken, refried beans and queso fresco. Neither of us was thrilled with our entree, however. Holly ordered chicken in the style of Hidalgo, which ought to have been a memorable dish, being tied up with the restaurant's identity and all. And yet the chicken breast was topped with a bland, almost melon-colored peanut sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds. I ordered the chuleta or pork chop with tomatillo sauce and specified spicy. When it came it had a bright, fruity flavor that was rather mild. The pork, meanwhile, was overcooked, requiring extra sawing. Sides of rice and refried beans were similarly lackluster. I came away feeling disappointed but I think I would also give this place another chance, should I end up in Secane again anytime soon.


Annonymous said...

I happen to disagree with the person who wrote the review! I feel that this establishment cooks its food with perfection the help is great and the family feeling inside is also great my family members and I have been there numerous times and enjoy every time we go. So if you havent tried it I suggest you do its great trust me!!!

Cayman said...

I lived in Secane!

The best Mexican restaurant, by far, in PA is La Tolteca. There are a few in Delaware but one recently opened in West Chester, PA. My husband is from Texas and he hates most Mexican places up here but he loves this place.

My neighbor, hubby and I go each week to La Tolteca. It is cheap, fast and wonderful. You should try it. On Friday nights they have a Mariachi band that will play anything you want.

Ward said...

This place is the absolute best Mexican restaurant! If you want authentic Mexican food, this is the place for you. The family who runs this establishment are very friendly and personable. They have also won the BEST OF DELCO 2006 for Best Mexican Restaurant. So, if you want great food and enjoy your time out with friends and family, go to Hidalgo's Restaurant.

taster said...

Authentic Mexican food and a wonderful experience!
We have been to Hidalgo on several occassions, each as great as the last, even when it is really busy.
This is not TexMex fast food, it is carefully prepared and beautifully presented.
The owners and staff are friendly and courteous to put it mildly.
Just do it!

Colin Purrington said...

Pasted from my Yelp review (

My family is very keen on authentic Latin American food, to put it mildly, and so we were beyond thrilled to find this restaurant in our backyard. This is a family-owned joint, NOT a chain, and features food from the region where they are from (Hildalgo, Mexico), in the central part of the country. We were also beyond thrilled that it's a BYOB, which to us is usually BYOW (wine); they also have margarita mix on hand if you BYOT (tequila). Food has been consistently very good to great. Service is is consistently slow to very slow because there are only two people waiting tables (the mom and one of her daughters), and mom is often busy explaining to tables that service _will_ be slow "because this is not fast food place". So don't rush her if you don't want to get lectured...just relax and enjoy the very good house salsa that is served with freshly deep-fried tortilla chips. We _always_ get at least one of ceviches, and often go for the entree specials that they clearly fuss over. But the normal menu is great, too -- I'll try to get a photograph of that someday and post it. Check out photos (above) for views of a recent meal we had. This restaurant is really good for kids and groups. OK to be loud and have a good time. If business is slow, the mom will sing for you. Really. Hours are 4:30-10:00pm except on Sunday when they close at 9:00pm. [Note: they have lots of American Express stickers around the room, and even American Express check holders -- but they don't TAKE American Express (Visa and Mastercard OK).] Go often and tell your friends -- I'd hate for this place to go under for lack of business.