It's places like La Palapa that give our city a bad name when it comes to Mexican food. Last year the worst restaurant honor went to Bobby Flay's over hyped, bland and expensive Mesa Grill (which is admittedly worse than La Palapa), so maybe there's some validity to our bad rep – but then again, we also boast Calexico, Hecho en Dumbo, and Papacitos, places Flay and La Palapa owners Margaritte Malfy and Barbara Sibley could take some tips from.
Now, maybe it was just an off night – some friends claim the brunch is fairly decent, and the place has managed to remain busy since it opened eight years ago which is no small feat in a fickle restaurant environment – but our experience was lousy from beginning to end, regardless of what this place used to be like.
Margaritas that called to mind the over sweetened junk from Chili's kicked things off in a real bad way. No one was impressed and we all changed our drink orders when offered a pitcher refill. I ordered the michelada, thinking there was no way a restaurant could mess up a beverage that even I can mix perfectly while intoxicated. Surprisingly, they outdid themselves and were able to make this simple, always delicious drink undrinkable. The spice they added tasted exactly like an Ortega seasoning packet, which is a very, very bad thing. The food was unmemorable (at best) and again it just made me feel like I was sitting in a Chili's in disguise, and I was being charged 30% more for the upkeep of the illusion.
Look, to be fair, this place has its fans. Even on Yelp, where people love to bitch, it's got some great reviews (though most are just mediocre) and I actually hate to bad mouth places based on one visit (hence the “worst of” only happens once a year) but for all of us, this none too cheap meal rang out as a major disappointment of the year and not one of our large group had anything to eat or drink that we could ever recommend.