You may not have known that former SF Chronicle critic Michael Bauer has been low-key recommending restaurants and dishes on his Instagram account. But he has. And associate Chronicle restaurant critic Cesar Hernandez has lodged one notable difference of opinion.

Elena's, the buzzy new Mexican restaurant in West Portal, continues to attract lines of walk-in diners on weekends when reservations remain impossible to get. It opened in February and is the latest addition to the local empire of restaurateur siblings John and Elena Duggan, the proprietors of Original Joe's, Little Original Joe's in West Portal, and the new Little Original Joe's in the Marina.

Michael Bauer counted himself as an early fan, posting the photo of the pozole below on February 9 and calling Elena's "the best Mexican restaurant to open since Cala closed!"

Bauer said the pozole was among a number of dishes that "set the standard" for "Mexican staples."

Now, even the Duggans have referred to this as a Mexican American restaurant, which is important to note — and neither has Mexican roots, but Elena Duggan was married to a Mexican man and has two half-Mexican daughters, Catherine and Julia Alcantara. The restaurant was meant to be a tribute to annual family trips they took to their father's hometown of San Bartolo Morelos, and to Mexican dishes Elena Duggan cooks at home.

The menu centers on a combo-plate option, like many classic Mexican American restaurants around the Bay Area and beyond, featuring four options: an enchilada, a crispy taco, chile relleno, and a tamale. And there are other classics you can get a la carte, like tortilla soup, Baja-style fish tacos, and the faddish quesabirria tacos.

Cesar Hernandez filed his review of Elena's this week, and suffice it to say it's far from a rave. While Bauer was certainly more deferential in his day to established restaurateurs around the Bay, Hernandez — who has recently had plenty to rave about at Mexican spots like La Vaca Birria and Tacos Mama Cuca — shows less deference, and has a number of complaints.

"Elena’s is a solid restaurant, making serviceable Mexican food, with misplaced hype," Hernandez writes, suggesting that you can "cobble together a satisfactory meal" by ordering some apps and cocktails at the bar.

The combo plates and the pozole, though, he does not recommend.

The chile relleno lacked seasoning, he says; the masa on the tamales "had a strange tang"; and the rice and beans, "more obligatory than distinct."

As for the pozole, Hernandez writes, "it has the bold richness of the chile-hued stew, but it was missing soul."

And, unforgivably, some fish tacos came with bones still in the fried fish filets — and when this was brought up to a server, they offered to bring something else, but then the tacos remained on the bill.

Elena's still enjoys a solid four stars on Yelp and will likely still continue to draw crowds — and you can't underestimate the excitement for something this new and buzz-worthy on the westside. You can decide for yourself if you're Team Bauer or Team Hernandez on this one.

Related: Long-Awaited Marina Outpost of Original Joe's Opens Thursday