Las Fuentes gets a lot of raves, plus it's located in the Valley, so I went in with high hopes for some tasty Mexican food.
I was expecting table service, so ordering at the counter was a little disorienting, as was reading the huge menu off of the wall in the cramped, crowded doorway. While the menu was extensive and had many different options, I was jonesing for some cheese enchiladas, so once I zeroed in on those I was ready to order.
Ordering was probably my favorite part of the meal. The staff, while very bilingual, actually addressed me in Spanish (though they have no reason to by my looks) which meant that I got to use my mad Spanish skillz. They were fast, friendly, and efficient in taking our order and explaining the slightly confusing food pickup system. Order at the cash register, get a receipt with your number, get another receipt with your chip and drink order. Hand over the chip and drink receipt at the chip and drink counter, then sit down and wait for your order number to be called (in both English and Spanish--most of the clientele seem to be Spanish-speaking, though).
Their homemade horchata is some of the best I've had. Chips and salsa are an extra $1.00 for a generous basket of tasty fried chips and your choice of several self-serve salsas from the messy salsa bar. Unlike most restaurants, Las Fuentes actually means it when they say their salsas are hot. The smokey, deep red salsa's flavor fell a little flat, while the standard spicy red was more flavorful but too spicy for me. My favorite was the green salsa, which had actual bits of fresh avocado and real flavor and kick. Most green salsas I try taste like almost nothing and really only serve to moisten my chips or tacos.
The rest of the meal didn't fare as well. Despite moist, tasty, albeit greasy shredded beef, I didn't think the wet burrito was anything to rave about, and the sauce was a little bland. The enchilada plate came with sickly looking (but perfectly edible) guacamole; pale, runny refried beans (less edible); average, greasy rice and two smallish enchiladas (cheese, at my option). I really like my enchiladas in red sauce but the sauce at Las Fuentes is mysteriously orange and doesn't taste like much.
Platillo de enchiladas rancheras
Las Fuentes is as brightly and boisterously decorated as it is noisy and family-friendly (read: lots of small kids). It's a place you can easily be in and out of in thirty minutes, and if you linger at your table you'll be causing problems because, though the restaurant looks large enough, there seem to be a lot more customers than tables. Food spills are waiting to happen at every crowded turn through the restaurant since it's average folks who are only half paying attention, not skilled waiters, carrying food to the tables. Two people can eat here and get full, if not have leftovers, for about $20. Overall, I'd say the experience was just okay and I wouldn't go back.
18401 Vanowen Street
Reseda, California 91335