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[DFW] Irving – Via Real (Mexican/Tex-Mex) Review

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Visited: 02/10/07, Saturday @ 5:30pm, pre-symphony dinner w/BF

In a strip mall, but you would never know it. White table cloths, soft music and candlelight. Neutral colors and a use of wood and stone make the restaurant very inviting. We sat in the “garden” room and there was a gas fireplace that was beautiful, not cheesy. The only strange thing was the use of outside, metal patio chairs throughout the restaurant.

Snitty – but that may have been just our waitress, Brandi. The “chip” guys were all over us, but hey, we like chips.

~$80 for two

(CEVICHE) – A nice, but simple mix of tomatoes, tiny bay scallops, chopped shrimp with lime juice and a little red onion. It came with avocado on the side, and once mixed in, it really gave the dish some extra character. The shrimp was not as fresh as I’d like, but not bad by any means.

(CANCUN) – A mix of pan fried shrimp and sea scallops in a garlic butter sauce served with asparagus and Spanish rice. We asked to have spinach substituted for the asparagus and were told there would be a $2.25 charge for the substitution. Excuse me? I am sorry, but let’s be a little more customer oriented here. In the long run, isn’t it better to make the customer happy and have them come back than to make $2.25? Maybe this lack of interest is due to the fact that this restaurant is right next to the Four Seasons. Who needs return customers when you have a steady rotating stream of visitors? But, whatever, with complaint, we agreed. When the dish arrived, Brandi told us that because spinach WAS cheaper than asparagus, that there wouldn’t be an additional charge (we had mentioned the cost difference in our initial complaint). The chef had changed his mind. The chef decides to charge more? Hmmm… The dish was pretty standard – nothing to write home about. The spinach came with a cheese mixed in, so it was a little strange. Spanish rice finished out the plate.

(TWO ITEMS) – I picked the chicken soft taco and a squash enchilada.
The enchilada had a sour cream and queso sauce that pretty much overwhelmed the delicate squash flavors. But who doesn’t like queso?
The chicken soft taco was fine. It was a flour tortilla filled with shredded chicken which was seasoned adequately, shredded iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. I added the salsa on our table and that added a nice kick. The dish came with black refried beans and Spanish rice (with peas in it).

(KEY LIME PIE) – I know, totally not Mexican, but none of the desserts were. It left something to be desired. Not enough key lime and the “strawberry” sauce littered around the plate was off somehow…competing with the lime flavor instead of enhancing it.

They had a nice selection of imported Mexican beers, margaritas and a limited wine list. We had a Negra Modela and an Anejo Margarita. The margarita was typical, nothing extraordinary, but they did have some nice tequila on hand. Did anyone else find it a little strange that they serve their margaritas in little cactus stemmed, logo’d glasses on white table linens? I don’t know… it just made me laugh.

At the end of dinner, we ran into the owner in the bathroom hallway. She was very pleasant, and when we brought up (of course) the $2.25 UP charge, she seemed appalled.

In our little family, we have a saying… “It’s fine (like bologna).” That is how I felt about this restaurant. It was fine. Haven’t decided if we’ll be back.


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  1. I've always thought of Via Real as a wanna be Javier's. I will say they have a great dish - seafood enchiladas. It is now off the menu for some reason but everytime I've gone I've asked them to do it and they have accommodated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ieatdallas

      I would agree with you, in that both Javier's and Via Real are mediocre Mexican restaurants.

    2. Intersting comments. While I have not been there for several years, I never found it to be anything special. I much prefer either Mercando Juarez (close to the area up NW Highway) or driving to the Park cities for Javiers for up scale mexican.

      1. Such as ?:
        Mercado Juarez
        1901 W Northwest Hwy
        Dallas, TX 75220

        3 Replies
        1. re: soapgirl

          Yep that would be it. It's not fancy but very good Mexican. The PARRILLADA is very interested.

          1. re: irodguy

            Thanks!! On the spreadsheet it goes!! :o)

            1. re: soapgirl

              Just an FYI about Mercado Juarez. For lunch, they have two dining rooms; a fast lunch with limited items and a full menu dining room. The fast lunch to me is just OK (good for the price though). If you're picky about fish or shrimp being way too overcooked, avoid them here.

        2. The best food there is not at lunch but rather having their grill for dinner. Also cabrito is good. The bbq shrimp is ok but not what they are known for.