Thoughts on Brand Dilution
This is not a review of the original Ninfa's on Navigation Boulevard. Everyone knows about/has been to the original Ninfa's, so I'm not going to show you pictures of their delightful food or discuss how the (Platonic) Tacos Musicos achieve unparalleled heights of greasy perfections. That's not what this is about. This post is about how spectacularly suck-ass the other locations in the Ninfa's empire can be.
Now, they probably don't all suck. In fact, I happen to know that the location on Kirby isn't terrible, and the one in the Galleria offers the only decent margarita to be had in that retail hellhole. But the Ninfa's at the Park Shops downtown...that, people, is a really bad restaurant. The chips are okay, but the salsa -- particularly the red salsa -- is indisputably from a jar. The caldo xochitl -- at the Navigation original, a clear, deeply-flavored chicken soup fragrant with fresh vegetables and peppers -- is a meek, watery chicken broth with a few chunks of chicken breast huddled at the bottom of the bowl, clearly ashamed of their role in the affair. The whole restaurant shares a similar sense of perpetrating a fraud, as though you'd opened a "Kreuz Market" in a food court and were offering baloney sandwiches with A-1 Sauce to an unsuspecting populace. Shame. Shame. Shame.