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By Gorging George

La Finca has built an incredibly elegant dining room in Gilmer. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a 4 of 5 star restaurant. Posh banquet seating with stylish leather chairs, dark wood tables and creamy walls that feature unique art pieces in each area of the dining room. The lighting fixtures are very cool. From the chandelier at the entrance to the lighting at each table, you are set up to have a great dining experience. The square plates and fancy chips with variety of salsa give you a great feeling. There’s no doubt you are in a fine Mexican food restaurant.

The menu offers a variety of traditional Mexican combination plates, such as enchiladas and tacos, but you also have grilled favorites, like chicken and shrimp with mango spicy sauces. The atmosphere makes the diner so excited to order, it really sets expectations high – and that might have posed a problem.

As with most Mexican food restaurants in Texas, after you sit down, they bring you chips and salsa. The chips are very good, freshly made, not too salty. We really enjoyed those chips. The salsa, on the other hand, might have had some sort of canned component. You can’t hide the flavor of canned stewed tomatoes by adding a few fresh ingredients. The mild flavor was good and enjoyable, but there was always that hint of ‘canned’ taste. So, we asked if they had other varieties of salsa we could try. They have a creamy green sauce that is avocado and sour cream based. The flavor is really good. It’s cool and mild when at the start, but offers a kick that only hits you minutes later. The other sauce was our favorite. It was a charred tomato-based sauce. The char helped mask the canned stewed tomatoes that are still the base of this sauce, but with more fresh ingredients, the sauce sure beats the traditional red that was first served with the chips.

For the entrée, I ordered the healthy plate of grilled chicken and a skewer of grilled shrimp with charred red and green bell peppers and purple onion. This dish was served with a side of guacamole, pico-de-gallo and what they call “Azteca rice”. The flavor of the grilled chick, shrimp and veggies was very tasty. Each item was cooked properly and served hot. The downer was the rice. It was white rice with peas, carrots and corn. There really was no flavor. I was expecting either a brown or white healthy rice with cilantro, pico-de-gallo, roasted corn and maybe even a few black beans mixed in for deeper flavor. I ended up mixing my side of Pico into the rice and made it a better side.

My dining companion ordered a traditional Mexican dish of ground beef enchiladas, a beef taco, rice and beans. The dish looked amazing when it arrived, but lacked flavor. Everything was pretty bland. It’s true that you can always add flavor after the fact, but I still believe you need to be able to have some sort of “wow” flavor in every dish.

We were full from our lunch dishes and a Corona or two, so we didn’t order any dessert. We will have to try that next time. On the whole, the experience was a good one and we will be back. If you have a chance to dine at La Finca, be sure to order something grilled and you’ll surely enjoy your food as much as your surroundings.

La Finca is located at 200 E Warren street (off HWY 155 N.)
Gilmer, TX 75644. Call 903-843-5355 for more information.