After reading so many positive reviews about this place, we couldn't wait to go in and check it out. Being the sister restaurant of the Rio Grande, we figured it couldn't be half bad. We hit up the El Monte Grill during happy hour with a strong desire to try some specialty drinks and margaritas.
Atmosphere: The outside of the El Monte Grill has bright lights detracting from the fact the place looks like a store front. There is a patio right out front, facing the parking lot. Once inside you will see dark wood floors covered with rows of booths and tables. The horse-shoe shaped bar is to the left and lined with booths and a few high top tables. The dimly- lit- bar- area is painted a burnt sienna color and lined with hanging pendent lights as well as cute star shaped lanterns. The place has an upscale and trendy feel, but not a lot of room to move around when it gets crowded.
Service: We sat at the bar and a specialty menu was thrown our way. The Bartender was less than friendly and seemed annoyed while making drinks. Maybe she had a bad day? But she didn't stop there. She would gripe to any employee who would listen about poor tips or errors on drink orders. Several servers and managers roamed the bar area as well and did not bother to assist her, while our glasses sat empty. Overall the service sucked and employees were not the least bit friendly.
Drinks: The drink menu, we were given at the bar, offers margarita's (no special flavors), mojitos, beer, wine and a few specialty drinks like the "Esteban". They do have a few beers on tap and your favorite Mexican imports in a bottle. We started with the Margarita and the Esteban, but were disappointed with the size portions at $4 a pop during happy hour (normally $8). We then switched to Modelo Especial and Dos Equis xx at $2 a pop (normally $4). They do carry a large selection of tequila's and tequila inspired beverages as well.