OutofTowner: Mexican cuisine at Club Jalapeno in Carmel

This is one review I have been longing to write. This past weekend, we made our third-in-the-last-year trip to Monterey Bay. And just like the last time, we decided to have a meal at Club Jalapeno, a mexican restaurant in Carmel-by-the-sea. So why is Club Jalapeno so special that we went all the way to Carmel for their food. Club Jalapeno offers a refreshingly different take to the regular Mexican fare- the offer sauces that are rich with flavor and spice. We had serendipitously discovered the place- thanks to my wife’s googling skills and it turned out to be a great pick. 

This trip around, we had four adults in the group- giving us the luxury to taste as many different dishes. We started off with some piping hot Jalapeno Poppers and an order of Cheese crisp for the little guy. The Cheese crisp was like a love child of thin crust pizza and quesedilla. The dipping peach habanero salsa that accompanied it was excellent. 

For the main course, we chose the following 4 dishes.

  • Senoritas Veggie Sampler (which a Senor chose no less) which was essentially a platter of verde rice (looks like coriander rice), tortillas, ensalada, roasted corn salsa and an awesome Chipotle sauce.
  • Spicy Cheese Chili Relleno which was topped with their signature outworldly spicy roasted yellow bell pepper sauce (take that in for a moment- it rocks).
  • Oaxacan Enchilada with a mole sauce to die for.
  • Spicy Enchilada filled with cheese and a big dose of their signature yellow bell pepper sauce (yep, we like it a lot).

We finished off our meal with a shared plate of flan which was pretty good. Overall, the second trip confirmed our initial suspicions- the love at first sight was very much true and here to stay.

Rating:

Ambience: 4/5. Only reason why it doesnt get a 5/5. It is insanely small. The place is hard to find and seats no more than 4 parties totaling 24 people. There is some extra seating outside but just for one additional group. So book in advance and plan on giving your kid something to play with. You sure arent going to have the space to run around inside. 

Service: 4.5/5. Food was brought in quick by two kindly old gentlemen who looked more like owners of the place. 

Food: 5/5. We are head over heels in love with this place. Enough said.

Price: 4.25/5. Let me explain. The food is not cheap. But given that you are in ultra expensive Carmel-by-the-sea, it is definitely very affordable.

Overall: 4.5/5. If you are in the area, call ahead for a reservation and drop by this place. You wont regret it.