As my final dining experience during my Norman house sitting retreat, I decided to try the Mont, 1300 Classen Blvd., one more time.
I had originally been there—very pre-stroke, mind you—with an ex-girlfriend who, apparently, is now a rising star in the town’s political power structure. While that’s all well and good for her, I have to admit that I had a terrible time at the Mont, for various humanistic reasons and, even worse, thought that the much-ballyhooed nachos I attempted to consume were barely alright.
But, with ten long years in the broken rearview mirror of my past, I thought that, since I’m in town, I’d give the restaurant another go, this time with my gal-pal Jodie who, as a good friend, could make everything all the better, even if the food was, once again, barely alright. And, I have to say, the plan mostly worked. Mostly.
We were the first customers in the parking lot when we showed up around lunchtime earlier this week, with more and more people eventually trickling in, mostly thin blonde women and tubby brunette men. Seated outside, as I examined the photocopied menu, I already knew that I wanted to sample the nachos again, a glutton for not only punishment, but for chips and cheese as well.
Our eats ordered, we waited a few minutes. The place looked different in the daylight, with far more trucks and motorcycles with loudly cranked mufflers speeding by, the sprinkler-like fans casting a heavy spray on me, at one point soaking the back of my shirt. Still, as our waiter brought out the coveted nachos, I perked up and peeled the clothing from my back, ready to dine, or something approximate to that.
Now even though my mother is absolutely Mexican, she wasn’t the cook on that side of the family. No, that was my late grandmother who, anytime she visited us, would make us all kinds of beautiful Latin delicacies to eat. The Pulled Pork Nachos ($9.99) were very much from my mom’s cookbook, the crunchy chips covered in a thick blanket of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, with black beans and, of course, pulled pork on top.
While they weren’t as terrible as I remembered, they were also not that great either, reminding me of the kind of nachos my mother would make in a microwave—I’m not saying they were, mind you—with an excessive amount of chips and cheese and not too much pulled pork. Jodie and I munched on them for a few minutes, but we weren’t really all that impressed with them.
As I pushed the nachos away, Jodie started in on her lunch, the rather large Chicken Caesar Salad ($8.99). While I would have rather her try the Mont Taco Salad or a Classen Street Combo for the desired literary effect, I understood her hungry reasoning. Consisting of romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing, grilled chicken, parmesan cheese and, why not, croutons, it was as basic as a salad can get. And there was so much of it.
She seemed to generally like the salad and, as I tried a few bites, thought that it was a perfectly suitable lunch, but, honesty, nothing special in the slightest. I started to sense a recurring theme of banality at this point, and hoped—nay, prayed—that some upcoming item would unduly impress me, starting off with my Mont Burger ($5.99).
Served with decent fries, the burger consisted of a char-grilled 1/3-pound burger patty, with my choice of pepper jack cheese, as well as the usual burger accouterments. As I held it in my wincing hands, it felt far lighter than it was supposed to, but I chocked that up an overactive culinary imagination, I suppose. As I bit into it, I waited for far too long for a sense of relief to come…it never did.
The restaurant’s signature burger, it fit well in the menu because it was, of course, barely alright. Consisting of a too small patty and too large buns, I let out a tortured sigh of discontent, pushing the sandwich aside—but, if you like it that way, more power to you. Besides, I had a final meal to eat, the seasoned beef Tacos ($5.99).
Once again, all I have to say is this: my mom would have loved them. Me…not so much, but I tried. Dulce Jesús sabe que lo intenté.