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I Miss Herrera's in Dallas - Seeking Houston Equivalent

Hi,

I did a search on this board before finally deciding to post this question. It’s kind of specific requiring knowledge of Houston old-fashioned Tex-Mex and a familiarity w/ Herrera's in Dallas.

I’m originally from Dallas. I’ll be moving to Houston soon. I currently travel between the two cities – I’m already in love w/ Houston’s diverse dining scene. Anyway, I am deeply attached to Herrera's Tex-Mex in Dallas. I could use some help in finding a Houston replacement. Could anyone in Houston recommend a Tex-Mex stand-in that would be similar to Herrera's, including menu, clientele and atmosphere? I know it’s a lot to ask & it doesn’t have to be exactly identical – just reminiscent.

I’ll be moving into an inner-loop area of Houston close to med center. I am willing to drive to find my Houston replacement for Herrera’s. A 30 or 40-minute drive would not be out of the question, but I hope there is some place a little closer.

BTW – These are some places I have tried in Houston:
A few small taqueria places in the east end of Houston - very tasty!
Popular places too: “Felix” on Montrose, “Ninfa's” on Navigation, “Chuy’s” at Westheimer & Kirby, and “Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen”. Chuy’s was way too gimmicky for me. I liked Ninfa’s food the best. I also enjoyed Hugo’s, Otilia's and Pico’s Mex-Mex, but I realize those are so different from Herrera’s in Dallas. There are so many great restaurants in Houston I tend to lose focus when trying to find a replacement for my Herrera’s fix.

Thank you & looking forward to your recommendations.

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  1. Never been to Herrera's but if its Tex/Mex old school enchilada dinner plate stuff then I would say lopez on Wilcrest just off 59. The enchiladas are all good and the plates they have are huge and VERY reasonably priced. $9 can get you guac, cheese puff, tostada, 2 enchiladas beans and rice.
    Cheese enchiladas in Richmond at Larry's are legendary. Its old school. I like the place but my wife doesn't? For that rason I rarely get there.

    1. Tell us more about Herrera's. Maybe we have a good substitute and don't know it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Texchef

        Herrera's is classic old-school typical Tex-Mex... lots of combo plates, choice of red or brown chili gravy, gooey cheese enchiladas with raw diced onion on top. Their red salsa packs some heat & they don’t do a green one. They also put a generous amount of jalapenos in their pico de gallo too. I know some old-timey places that don’t (both in Dallas & Houston). It's the kind of place that has been there forever and a day.

        The location I frequent is in a run-down shopping center next to a large Hispanic grocery store. Actually, Herrera's looks like a big gutted supermarket. Its wide, open interior is pretty shabby with concrete floors, worn vinyl tablecloths, and thick paint over the brick walls. Their water/ iced tea “glasses” are those plastic red ones with the small pebble-like texture on the outside. The noise level is always high. There’s always a crowd but never so much that you’d have to wait for a table (probably b/c the place is so huge). The waiters are all Hispanic men aged 35 to 55 I would guess. They never have any summer-time teen-age waitstaff like some places do.

        Another thing that I like about Herrera’s is the diversity of its customer base. Everyone goes there. All in one night we saw Roger Staubach’s son and his extended family having a feast, several large Hispanic families, two African American ladies enjoying the oddly colored neon green margaritas, senior couples easily in their 60s, and a table of gay men having a boys night out.

        So that’s a glimpse into Herrera’s. Nothing new or ground-breaking, but I sure will miss it. However, I have no doubt that I’ll find somewhere in Houston that I’ll come to love just as much!

        1. re: LM_Texas

          If diversity of the crowd is the big draw for you, you gotta try Tony's Mexican (or maybe they say Tex-Mex) on Ella in the Heights. Especially on a Friday or Saturday night. Very old school Tex-Mex though they added lots of grilled items over the years. Plus very strong margaritas. And a crowd that ranges about as far as one can go.

      2. I'm not familiar with Herrera's, but if it's classic old-timey Tex-Mex, try Spanish Village on Almeda. That shouldn't be too far from your home. Another good option would be Casa Dominguez in Bellaire, on Bissonnet just a couple of blocks inside Loop 610.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. So far, it all sounds promising. I'll put them on my list of places to try. By the time I'm finished with my "research". I'll need a new pair of pants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LM_Texas

            No, your looking for Lopez.=) with the exception that they have moved to a new spt after years in a small then a little bigger then a little bigger the the new space. Also, Larry's cheese enchiladas and chili con queso are as old school as it gets. I'll stand by both of these recs for old school T/Mex.

          2. Try Los Tios on Westheimer and Tanglewilde. It sounds kind of similar in atmosphere and food to what you are looking for in a tex-mex restaurant.

            1. I will second Tony's on Ella close to the Heights but I actually prefer Tecate right down the street! It isn't nearly as crowded, cheaper and the food is awesome.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mocity

                I'm a regular at Tony's -- and I love it -- but while their Tex-Mex is about as old school as you can get, the quality is very inconsistent. It can be very good, or awful - luck of the draw, really. (And the draw, so to speak, is their margaritas which are STRONG.) A nearby place that has more consistently good Tex-Mex (but not nearly as much personality) is Juanita's on T.C. Jester. This is one of those two minutes from placing your order to your food in front of you places, but it's good old school stuff.