The lackluster beef taco combination at Los Cuates in Raleigh.

So long to Los Cuates #heartbroken

I’ve broken up with Los Cuates.

Hearing the sterile beeps of the microwave from the kitchen is never a good sign when you’re sitting in the nearly empty dining room of a restaurant while waiting for your food.

And yet, that’s what I heard one weeknight when I paid a visit to Los Cuates, a local Mexican restaurant in Raleigh that I once regarded as a reliable place to grab a few good tacos or burritos. Perhaps, that Thursday evening was an off-night or maybe the usual cook was gone, but the food that I got that eventually emerged from the kitchen that night reflected a sad state of affairs.

The pair of beef tacos seemed begrudgingly deep-fried, besot in a generous layer of grease. The accompanying rice and beans were a nudge above lukewarm, and clearly needed to be nuked a few seconds longer. The same lackluster attention was paid to the enchiladas and steak burrito plate, evident by the glob of shredded cheese that was barely warmed enough to completely melt. The only saving grace that night was the salsa bar that zapped life into an otherwise insipid dinner.

Even with a discounted Groupon rate, I don’t know that I would visit again on a weeknight. I’ve visited Los Cuates a few additional times in the past recently with similar disappointing results hoping that it just wasn’t firing on all cylinders those particular days, but this recent subpar experience was perhaps the last straw—it was time to cut the epicurean cord.

Truthfully, the Mexican mainstay seems to operate more as a lunch spot when the food may be prepared with more care and attention. I’ve frequently lauded Los Cuates’ sister location on Capital Boulevard for its spectacular chicken burrito special, where I’ve rarely been let down, and now that seems like the only place I will continue to get my local burrito fix.

It’s hard saying goodbye to an old friend, but sometimes you just have to move on.

LOS CUATES | 4524 Old Wake Forest Road Raleigh NC 27609 | 919.872.6012

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