I've been to Pancho's Mexican Restaurant a few times now and finally now am getting around to writing about it. Obviously since I've been back, I don't hate it.
Pancho's is not the best Mexican food in the world, but I'm not fond of most of the Mexican restaurants in Albany. I have a bad bias on this having lived in Houston for four years. My bias is so bad that I don't even like most of the Mexican food I've had in California. I used to half-joke that Taco Bell was the best in Albany.
Pancho's has some good and some mediocre. The first time I went the guacamole stood out to me. I'm a big guacamole fan. I like how it tastes, I like the texture (I'm into the texture of foods), and it's actually pretty darn good for you. Last time I went the guacamole was still good, but no longer stood out in my eyes.
The other thing that stands out in my mind, in not a good way, was the steak in the steak fajitas (one of my favorite dishes). I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it doesn't taste quite right. It's either the quality of the meat or the way they cook it. It does not seem like it's grilled and that's the way I like my fajitas. I'd almost say it's fried in lard. But before anyone takes this the wrong way, I had it again last time I was there and liked it. I still noticed the flavor, but it wasn't as strong and maybe it's growing on me.
In general Pancho's is a nice place. Good atmosphere, friendly staff, and the food is generally good. I'm not giving it five stars or anything, but I will be going back.
I'm still waiting for a really good Mexican restaurant to hit the area. We go to Garcia's pretty regularly as well, and I put it on a par with Pancho's. Garcia's is particularly good for kids, while I think I like Pancho's better as a lunch place. Garcia's lunch is too focused on its buffet, which doesn't do it for me.
I used to like Chili's, but for some reason we haven't been going there lately. I think something about the chain nature of the restaurant has taken something away from it, but I can't say what. I should also mention The Cheesecake Factory. They do have some decent Mexican-style dishes, but the place is usually very crowded and a bit pricey. Lunch at 11:30 is the safest bet.