Las Troias (New Mexican Restaurant)

In the mall, by one of the two entrances across from Chick-fil-a they are adding provisions for outside dining and a new Mexican Restaurant has announced plans to open.  I doubt it will be like the routine Mexican restaurants in the area but I also haven't heard of this chain.  Will be glad to have another though.

 

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )

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Agreed!  I'm glad something new is coming to the Florence Mall because, with the loss of Sears, and the possible loss of JC Penney, in the future, the mall needs to have more stores opening here because there are enough leaving the area.

Several folks have noticed that the sign is down and it appears that work on Las Troias has slowed to a crawl but at this point I don't know if there is still going to be a new Mexican Restaurant in the mall or not.  I don't know if anyone else knows what's going on, maybe they just had to slow down due to funds but hopefully they are not going to cancel the project as it looked like it was going to be a good (much needed) addition to the Florence Mall at a time when they really need more growth. 

I swung by Las Troias tonight when I picked up my granddaughter at the mall and saw some women outside their door talking.   I ask about their opening and was told that they expected to open sometime next week (September 27 -  December 1st) .  We'll see but it looks nice and should enhance traffic at the mall.  

So I went to Las Troias on opening night 12/06/2017. First impressions were very good. Atmosphere is second best of any restaurant open currently in The Shoals.

BTW: I rank Umi as having the best atmosphere and I rank The Pie Factory as having the third best atmosphere. I do not rank the 360 Degree Grill in the Top 3 because I only count what is on the restaurants property.

Anyway, the front staff was knowledgeable knowing the bar menu/seating policy, which sections were open, and how to get to the bathrooms.

So far so good, I noticed Las Troias has a large dining area with several TV's in it. If you don't like a restaurant with a lot of TV's I definitely wouldn't recommend Las Troias but if you like to watch all the games at once, Las Troias would be a good place to watch them.

We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table, not too bad considering it was opening night.  Once getting a table the chips, salsa, and drinks arrived quickly. And I noticed Las Troias has special drink glasses (even for non-alcoholic drinks), that are blue. Only downside being you can't tell what's in the glass based on color, with the blue tent blocking most colors. This is the point where we ordering our food, and things went downhill ..... quickly. We waited a long time, during this time we went through 2 bowls of chips, a drink refill, and the table across from us that came in after us got food. You know there is a problem when a table that comes in after you gets food before you do. I had ordered 2 crunchy shell tacos plain with only the ground beef inside. Somehow the kitchen screwed that up and brought me 2 taco salads plain with only ground beef. I had to send them back. They did fix it rather quickly but so much time had gone by waiting that we had a place to be and were forced to get our food to go. And, they didn't comp us anything! Boo! They should have comped us for the messed up tacos at least. When we've had problems at Applebee's and Logan's in Florence, both have partially or fully comped our meal but not Las Troias!

I recommend not going to Las Troias for the next 3 weeks. Hopefully, that will give them time to sort out the bugs.

first never rate a restaurant when they  first open, after all they are still in learning mode.  Second why does everyone think they should get something free at restaurants?  how many times do you mess up?  does your work comp something if they make an error?  Many a times I have had to go back to a store and not gotten anything more than sorry.  Now think about that you have to drive to the store (not to mention find the time) where at the restaurant it just cost you maybe minutes.  Average restaurant profit is around 5%. Maybe we should all just slow down and relax.   

so back to your work, what do you comp?

I went yesterday (Thurs) at straight up 12 noon. For a brand new place during the lunch run, they did pretty good.  The place is huge. The only issue was there were two large bay leaves buried in the rice and beans that should have removed after cooking. Brought it to the attention of the manager, not as a complaint, but as an fyi. He was grateful for the information. I did feel the prices were a little steep. Especially on the lunch menu.  Other than that, I enjoyed it.  The food was fresh and good.  It is expected to have hiccups the first few weeks a restaurant is open, but lunch yesterday seemed to go okay for them.  A heck of a lot better than the first few weeks when Capones' opened last January. That was a real Charley Foxtrot. But they turned it around and have done good.

I also went on the first day.  I hate to use this analogy but when it comes to new restaurants, in the Shoals area, I'm like a cat to a new litter box, I have to jump right in and try it.  That said I went at lunch and arrived at 11:30AM because the signs said they would open December 6th.  I entered through the outside door only to discover that they weren't opening until 12:00 Noon but then there was several others in the restaurant that made the same mistake as I did in assuming they would open at 11:00 AM.  

Yes, I agree, the atmosphere was very good and pleasing.  Yes, they do have a large supply of Televisions and each on different programming and positioned to be seen from several locations within the restaurant, a good thing.  I also was taken back by the dark blue glasses for the same reason, not being able to determine what was in them at a glance.  I got unsweet tea for sweet and there was others who got water instead of a drink but those things can, and are, worked out in time.

As for my impressions of the place.  The service was good considering it was opening day and the server(s) were very accommodating and friendly and fast as they could be expected to be given I don't think they had a soft opening for a trial as some places do.  The menu is very expansive and not out of line with most Mexican (tex-mex) restaurants.  I ordered the Fajitas (mixed (Steak & Chicken)) and found them very tasty.  Their Fajitas though was more like those found at Casa Mexican or Fiesta Mexicana compared to those offered at Rosie's Mexican Cantina which is more a Tex-mex type offering but they were very tasty and I will order them again.  I will also say that the quantity you received, for one, was very plentiful however I would have liked to have had more shredded cheese to put on my fajitas.  Another comment was that you could also specify whether you wanted corn or flour tortillas to come with the Fajitas.  I preferred the flour.

I also was impressed with the amount of salsa you received with the chips that were brought to the table as it didn't come in a small bowl as with many Mexican restaurants but it was a fairly large bowl with plenty of salsa.  The salsa was also not overly hot/spicy either and the chips offered were more of the thin variety than the thicker chips but I don't believe that they are made in house but rather are brought in from the outside and rewarmed.  I will attach some menu images but I was not able to complete taking pictures of the whole menu so a few of the back pages are missing.Front cover of MenuAppetizers and NachosSalad and A La CarteLunch Specials and ChildsFajitas and BurritosSeafoodSteaks and Combo Meals

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1130 posted:

first never rate a restaurant when they  first open, after all they are still in learning mode.  Second why does everyone think they should get something free at restaurants?  how many times do you mess up?  does your work comp something if they make an error?  Many a times I have had to go back to a store and not gotten anything more than sorry.  Now think about that you have to drive to the store (not to mention find the time) where at the restaurant it just cost you maybe minutes.  Average restaurant profit is around 5%. Maybe we should all just slow down and relax.   

so back to your work, what do you comp?

I can understand reluctance in reviewing a new restaurant but I feel it's appropriate just as long as people know it's a newly opened place.  True they are in learning mode but that's why some places have soft openings or family openings so that they can get accustomed to serving people.  Additionally, many times, staff will have worked at other restaurants so be more familiar with what goes on and more accustomed to the pace.  

As for the comp issue I have some conflicting views.  I do believe that restaurants, or businesses, should compensate customers for errors that are obviously the businesses fault.  I do know that some restaurant patrons go in and set up situations where they try and get free things or free food but I think those are a small minority of people.   When a restaurant makes a error then I believe it's their obligation to compensate if that error is a large one and ruins the meal or to the point where the patron is no longer able to eat due to the error.  If it is a mistake though, maybe caused by the staff misunderstanding the order or the kitchen not understanding it then some leeway can be given.  

Most people know that if a steak is undercooked you can cook it up a bit more and most don't mind waiting so no biggie but if they over cook a steak and then do it again then it's fair to expect that the steak will be comped and most times the patron that ordered it can't eat it anyway given the time that went by and they have filled up on bread and drinks.  Or there are times when a customer has to leave due to time constraints and doesn't have time to wait for a restaurant to make it up.  In the case of Riverzurinski I do believe they should have not been charged for the food that was in error, or should have been issued credit toward a future meal.  

I eat out, more than most, and I don't expect it but when a mistake happens, as they do often, and it's taken care, whether deserved or not, then you, as a patron, not only are more willing to overlook certain errors but are more apt to return much faster, back, to the restaurant and have a much better feeling about the place and the management.   When you feel that you have been taken advantage of, though, then you aren't as apt to return so quickly or freely.  Also some places charge a premium for their product and thus you have higher expectations as you are paying more for the product.  If a place is going to charge you for perfection then they should deliver on it.  

Also there is so much competition these days, for a customer's dollar, anything a restaurant can do to up it's ante is to it's favor (my own opinion mind you).  I don't feel obligated to take the brunt of a businesses mistake just because I'm there to patronize them.  I look at it as their business is to serve me and they are there attempting to do it one better than their competition in order to earn my money.  Yes I believe minor mistakes should be over looked and especially with the understanding that a place is new but a gross error or gross mistake or one that ruins the whole meal should be compensated, at least that's how I feel as it's the restaurants responsibility to get it right once the order is correctly given/delivered.  It's like if you pay a painter, or any service provider, but they do a bad job or make a error then you aren't going to want to pay full price for a substandard job, you expect them to make it right or fix it.  I believe the same is expected of restaurants that make errors.  A mistake is one thing but an error is another all together but often determination of the difference between mistake and error is so subjective and vague.  I will, though, return to Las Troias as I believe it will be a very good restaurant and improve the choices in the Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine.

KThom posted:

I went yesterday (Thurs) at straight up 12 noon. For a brand new place during the lunch run, they did pretty good.  The place is huge. The only issue was there were two large bay leaves buried in the rice and beans that should have removed after cooking. Brought it to the attention of the manager, not as a complaint, but as an fyi. He was grateful for the information. I did feel the prices were a little steep. Especially on the lunch menu.  Other than that, I enjoyed it.  The food was fresh and good.  It is expected to have hiccups the first few weeks a restaurant is open, but lunch yesterday seemed to go okay for them.  A heck of a lot better than the first few weeks when Capones' opened last January. That was a real Charley Foxtrot. But they turned it around and have done good.

"Charlie Foxtrot" ... yeah I know what you mean by that!  I watched Heartbreak Ridge also and by no means do I believe that's the only place that term was used.    I would dare say that in many places of Government run things "Charlie Foxtrot" is Government speak for "Standard operating procedures". especially in the Veteran's Administration which hopefully our current leadership is seeking to remedy as many "Charlie Foxtrots" as they can find and as fast as they can find them.  Sadly too many entrenched, habitually incompetent, managers and leaders are employed till retirement.

You dang right I called out the bay leaves. Those things can be choking hazards if they are not completely whole. I've seen it happen. And no, I didn't call the manager over, he sat down right beside me to talk to the bartender and asked me how I was enjoying the meal.

A work still in progress ... Another trip to Las Troias and another set of problems.  Although it was a Friday night, they were very crowded, and the quoted wait time was 20 minutes I decided to give it another try.  The time waiting was as quoted, a surprise to me but the surprise was where my seat was.  I was taken to the outside enclosed patio area and felt like sardines in a can or cattle waiting to be funneled into a small pen.  The distance between seats was infinitesimal and where they wanted to seat me was on the back row so rather than squeeze in between folks wondering how my waiter/waitress was going to get to me I protested and said I wanted to set inside the restaurant.   I was willing to have my name added back to the top of the list and wait for the very next booth/table but the girl behind the front stand that was entering names and handing out pagers wouldn't have any part of it.   She said NO and said I would have to wait another 20-30 minutes (or no seat for you unless it's where we say).   

I ask to speak to a manager at which point the hostess that looks very much like Mila Kunis, said she would take care of it .. and she did, to my satisfaction whereas the Mexican girl behind the stand that shoved a new pager toward me and put my name at the end of the list just frowned as I was led to the next booth available.   So that problem was avoided by a very responsive and understanding hostess.  She really did look like Mila Kunis indeed.

Once at the table I was waited on quite fast but it did take a while to get the complimentary chips and salsa to the table.  Whereas I ordered Fajitas before (Beef & Chicken) this time around I ordered the Combo plate 11 which was a hard beef taco, beef Burrito, and Beef Enchilada.  It was very much the same as you get at Casa Mexican, Fiesta Mexicana or LaHacenda only the atmosphere was much nicer and better and the quality of the food was also better even though you have to stay on guard to get what you want.  Again there was an issue with the dark blue glasses as I ordered sweet tea and got a host of combinations between unsweet tea, water, and finally sweet tea after three tries and upon asking for refills went through another confusion episode with water instead but alas finally sweet tea again.  

I still believe Las Troias to be better, quality, atmosphere, and taste wise, than Casa Mexicana, Fiesta Mexicana, and LaHacienda but I would potentially give the edge in taste to Rosie's Mexican Cantina for the Fajitas but it's close and you do get quite more at Las Troias.  Still though they have many issues to work through.  I'll include some more photos as well.  The small bowl of Cheese dip is $4.95 whereas other similar Mexican restaurants I think charge about a dollar less but then I don't know that for sure.  Maybe LasTroias is pretty even with the others but I do like their chips better and their beef is also better than the others.  The grilled steak and chicken also has a very good taste but Rosie's compares very favorably and the steak and chicken is larger pieces.

Last the cost is higher than the other Mexican restaurants and drinks (tea, coke etc) which usually cost the restaurant about 9 cents a glass will set you back some $3.00 at Las Troias so water is the most economical way to go.  If you get a to go order also know they will charge you an additional $0.50 fee for to go orders and in my case when I got home it was incorrectly prepared and I had to call management about it who promised me if I brought in my receipt they would refund me the $8.99 for the messed up Taco Salad I ordered to bring home.  I still believe Las Trois has a long way to go to get up to speed because it still seems they are playing catch up to the number of customers they are serving.  I do though believe they will handle it and eventually work out all the kinks.  I still recommend it highly.

My recommendations:  

  1. Rosie's Mexican Cantina (still best in my opinion but Las Troias is close)
  2. Las Troias (given a little time they will get better)
  3. Casa Mexicana (Muscle Shoals best followed by Florence & Sheffield)
  4. Fiesta Mexicana 
  5. LaHacenda (sorry to say I've had nothing but bad luck here)

IMG_2494IMG_2495IMG_2499 Inside Las Troias various viewsIMG_2500Steak & Chicken FajitasIMG_2501What comes with FajitasBlue GlassClose up of the Blue glassIMG_2519To Go Taco Salad that was supposed to have Sour Cream instead of Guacamole and what is so deceiving about this photo is the serving size.  Its really quite small, more like a pot pie serving container.  Although this was the adult portion it appears more like a Childs portion.  I don't know if it's any larger if you eat it in the restaurant but if not I would advise avoiding it as it is very small.  Definitely you get a better deal for your money at Casa Mexicana.

IMG_2489Those blue glasses .. What is it in the glass if you can tell?  Neither could I .. don't know I like the blue glasses because you never can tell if it is water, tea, or soft drink until you taste it.  Add some suspense and surprise to your meal.  They definitely need to improve on the taste of the sweet tea.  Due to the high drink price .. $3.00 or a little more I'd recommend the Water.

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wow, if i were a restaurant manager, i wouldn't want you as a customer.  First what qualifies you to be a critique?  Second do you know what  a hostess makes?   working on Friday nights and you probably weren't the first ignorant customer.  Hostess is a very stressful and difficult job on a busy night.  Plus only one paid less it the dishwasher.   However since you were the only important customer they had .........

1130 posted:

wow, if i were a restaurant manager, i wouldn't want you as a customer.  First what qualifies you to be a critique?  Second do you know what  a hostess makes?   working on Friday nights and you probably weren't the first ignorant customer.  Hostess is a very stressful and difficult job on a busy night.  Plus only one paid less it the dishwasher.   However since you were the only important customer they had .........

No offense taken here, I don't claim to be paid to offer a critique for I'm not.  Also I don't always post glowing reviews but rather reviews I believe are just for the particular visit I make.  I also don't care what a hostess makes or the person handing out the pagers.  Whether she makes minimum, less than minimum or owns the restaurant she can affect a customer's view of the place and create a situation where the person will or will not return so regardless of her salary she, or he, has the ability to affect the restaurants reputation.  If you would have been happy being placed at the bottom of the list and waiting another 2o minutes because the table you were offered, when your time came up, was not acceptable then I'm sure there are plenty of car salespersons that would love to have you as a customer.   No one deserves to be treated bad regardless of the employees attitude.   If they have a bad attitude then they don't deserve to be up front an in a position to greet people.  That's my opinion.  

Lastly I don't appreciate your judgmental attitude referring to me as "Ignorant" for you know nothing about me but if you are happy being that type a person then have at it.  Since you seem to be such an expert, how about enlightening us as to what does qualify a person to be able to make a critique of places around the Shoals?

haha,,gbrk   as you don't appreciate my judgement of you, I am sure that poor hostess doesn't appreciate your judgement of her.   I don't let the little things bother me.  I also  don't tell the world how I wasn't treated bad. I  would have just left and gone else where. But then I rarely eat out on Friday/Saturday nights.  I also (when I do) remember that I am not the only person there and no  one is perfect.  She is working there most likely because she is just starting in the work force.  Oh by the way I have done her job, have waited tables and appreciate how tuff the job is especially on weekend nights when to many think they are the most important.   Oh by the way the five dollars I tipped her probably got me a seat before you, haha

oh by the way I do apologize for calling you ignorant, I don't see that as an insult. As it means you can still learn, which I might be wrong about.   I am ignorant about lots, however am not stupid. I am also not self centered.   

 I have been to this place two times. The first I was alone during lunch and the order was simple, they seemed to get everything done suitable to satisfy myself. The second time was a complete different story, it was during lunch as well but I have the wife and a grandson along. they could not get the order right even after three tries. I opted to go ahead and eat the chicken taquitos instead of the beef I ordered. Grandson had to wait until we were almost finished eating before they brought out the hot dog he ordered.

 The chicken taquitos I ate was dry but I did not complain about that since they did comp my meal because it was not what I ordered, so it is not all lost. However, after eating there yesterday, I had to go to Rosie's today to get the experience out of my head.

 If I were allowed to give them some advice, it would be that they either teach the wait staff to speak Spanish, or teach the kitchen staff to understand English. The bottom line is that they need someone looking over each order to make sure the kitchen is putting out what the server is writing down.

 As far a gbrk's ranking of local Mexican restaurants mine is

#1 hands down Rosie's, I don't think I have ever had a bad one there. Have gone out of my way many times to get to this place, and have had pretty much the same results at both the Huntsville locations as well. The have the most flavorful salsa and to top it off there is a bottle of Habanero sauce close by to add to the experience.

#2 Casa Mexicana, while I have had complaint there, they have my favorite spicy salsa.

#3 LA Hacienda,  I don't remember ever getting a bad or incorrect meal there, but they just don't offer as spicy of salsa as I wish they had.

#4. LA Fonda, even though they have not been in existence for a long time they still have a place in my heart.
When Jorge died, he took a lot with him. sometimes when a person puts so much of his heart and soul in a business it is difficult for the same quality to continue without him.

#5. Las Troias, I won't say I will never go back, but I won't be going out of my way to get there for some time. Who knows, with as much money they have spent, they will have to tune their technique or else the will go the way Morrison's did. I make example of them because that is who used to be at the same location.

6. Last on my list is Fiesta Mexicana. Inconsistency through the numerous times I have been there causes me to put them where I have.

 So that is how it is.  

Unclegus, I hated to hear about the bad experience you, and your family, had but I am glad they credited your meal, as they should have.  I'll only say in my ratings list I was mainly considering taste/quality and atmosphere.  I didn't take into account any of the mistakes because I was writing them off to being a new place.  

I sure hope that the mistakes are going to improve and get better with time.  I do agree with you, though, that Rosie's is tops in the area.  Regarding Rosie's in Huntsville I don't know if you have tried the Phil Sandoval's restaurant that is located in the old Rosie's Restaurant location, but I hear they are excellent also.  One interesting thing about Phil Sandoval's is that although it's also owned by Rosie's owners Rosie's closes on Sunday but Phil Sandoval's is open.  I haven't figured that one out.   If you, or anyone reading this, has tried Phil Sandoval's I'd love to know what you thought of it compared to Rosies?

 I have been to  Phil Sandoval's  in Huntsville and did have a good experience, but still prefer Rosie's.

Also, my list does not include all places in The Shoals. There is one in Muscle Shoals South of Sixth street(can't remember the name) that has proven a good choice, for I have never had a bad experience there. Also there is one in Greenhill (Little Mexico grill) that is OK, I understand it is owned by a brother of the owner of Casa Mexicana.

I've always wondered about Phil's so thanks for the info.  I went back to Los Troias again on Saturday night and although it was late there was a noticeably smaller group of people dining there.  It may have been the holidays due to the reduction in people.  This time around they pretty much got my order right with the exception of leaving the lemon out of the water.  The food arrived hot and from order to payment I was out of the place in 30 minutes time so this was my fastest and best visit so things are improving it seems. 

I'll make one last entry in the Las Troias thread.  The wife and I visited there for lunch on Saturday and everything was perfect.  We were sat quickly, waited on quickly, and the order (Lunch Fajitas) was also served perfect and as ordered.  I believe that a lot of the initial problems are being worked out and I'm thankful for that.  I will say that with regards to Rosie's Cantina, my other pick for best Mexican restaurant, I believe that Las Troias has the best tasting Fajitas and definitely has the best tasting rice however I have to give the nod to Rosie's Cantina for their cheese dip although Las Troias has the better tasting salsa and better chips, at least to me.  Also I like the tacos, enchiladas and burritos at Rosie's Cantina better but I'm glad that we have both to choose from.

One last note.  I also noted, while dining there, for lunch, that several people had clear glasses so it appears that they do have other serving glasses than the dark blue glasses that they use for ice tea, coke, and other non-alcoholic liquids.  Also it's interesting that their sweet tea is priced higher than the coke products but I guess they consider it a specialty drink.  I do recommend trying Las Troias, especially for the Fajitas but thankfully many of their opening problems have now seemingly been remedied.  At least that was my most recent experience.

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