by Zachariah Zendejas
Recently I paid a visit to a small Mexican restaurant here in Reedley wanting to get some good Mexican food, and having been to Daniels a few years back for lunch, I thought why not try their dinner. I must say, I was not disappointed. This is not to say that this restaurant does not have their down sides. Also, this is not the place for a first date; this restaurant is for laughing loud, having to talk over people, and hanging out with friends, family and your significant other who you have been with for a while. Basically, if you are planning on taking your honey out on a romantic evening, this is not the place.
First the good parts of my dining experience. One, the seating is quite nice. I sat at the long, elevated table on a stool with another family that came in not long after I did. Now, some may not like this, but I think it adds to the ambiance of eating in a Mexican restaurant. It has this familial feeling, without feeling the burden of actually having to talk to anyone.
Second, the service is good; I did not feel rushed by the waitress like in so many other restaurants where the waitresses or waiters seem to be surly, or like they have better things to do than to serve you. The waitress was nice and attentive without hovering, and the staff (from my vantage point) seem to work in tandem, moving easily alongside each other, and also seemed friendly to each other (whether they can actually stand each other outside of work is beside the point; when I go to a restaurant I want the staff to be respectful of each other, rather than giving the other the stink eye. This contributes to the atmosphere of the restaurant and the overall dining experience).
Third, their food was exceptional. I had their Chile Verde and I must say that it was made with care. The pork was soft and fell apart in my mouth; the sauce was spicy without being too hot; the rice was a bit dry but still flavorful; and their beans were creamy and tasty.
Though the restaurant had many good points, there were some areas that I felt were lacking. For instance, the floors looked like they could use a good sweep. I understand that there can be much foot traffic and that the place can get busy (and for those who are concerned, there were no big messes or spills that obviously needed to be cleaned; I’m talking about a little dirt and scuff marks). For some this may not be a big deal, but I still think that a good sweep and mop in the down-time never hurts.
Another problem that I had was with the red chili given with the tortilla chips before the meal. Now, the chips seem to be homemade, which I like, but they were a little cold; however, I still liked them. The problem I had was their red chili: it tasted like it came from a can rather than homemade, and to anyone who has eaten homemade red chili, there is a difference. I would recommend eating the green chili (which they put out with the red) because this one is excellent. It has the right amount of heat that makes your tongue sizzle a bit, but not enough to make you dunk your head in a barrel of water.
Overall, Daniel’s was a good time restaurant where the food was delicious, the staff enjoyable and the atmosphere easygoing and fun. I do recommend it to people who want to eat and hang out with friends or family. This really is an enjoyable place.
Daniels can be found at: 801 North Reed Avenue, Reedley, CA 93654-2434 (559) 643-0500
Hours: Sun-Thu 7am–10pm; Fri-Sat 7am–11pm