HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Misplaced Texans looking for food

I am from San Antonio and now live in Balto. One of my best friends from TX is coming to town for biz. Like all good Texans, we love BBQ and Mexican. Anyone know of any REAL & GOOD Texas food between National airport and Bethesda/Potomac?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. sorry hon, i truly believe you may be SOL. I was born and raised in texas for the first 21 years of my life and have yet to find anything 'round these parts to sate a craving.

    I heard through the grapevine that there was a Dickey's BBQ in beltsville (loved the dickey's in waco and dallas) but also have heard that the food wasn't quite as good as it is in some of the other locations. i have yet to find a good mexican restaurant.

    3 Replies
    1. re: littlew1ng

      Depending on your opinion of Uncle Julio's/Rio Grande Cafe they are exactly the same here as they are in Dallas and given three stars by the Dallas Morning News. I am not making a comment or value judgment just noting the same experience.

      Having eaten my way through Llano and Luling as well as Taylor there is nothing here (or most anywhere else for that matter) that approaches them.

      Question: why do you want to take them to a restaurant serving the same food they can get at home? If I go to Dallas for business I'll go to Stephen Pyles. But if someone was coming here from Dallas I would be more inclined to take them to an experience that they could not find at home, whether it was Komi, Kinkead's or Cafe Atlantico.

      1. re: Joe H

        omg stephen pyles. be still my heart.

        One potentially interesting experience could be a trip to georgia brown's or vidalia, to see a few interesting interpretations of southern food. while the menus don't necessarily flaunt texas-inspired fare, i have had some familiar and very well-prepared dishes there.

        1. re: littlew1ng

          Especially Vidalia and Charleston in Baltimore. Both, in their own ways, will hold their own with Stephen Pyles which is a restaurant that I absolutely love (and Star Canyon, AquaKnox, Routh street....)

          His cowboy ribeye is one of the world's great steaks!

    2. Why would your friend come to all the way to Baltimore to eat Texas food?

      4 Replies
      1. re: sandyesandye

        I was about to ask that same question. There's plenty of good eats in Baltimore, from pit beef and coddies to high-end fare, and you're in blue crab central. Why settle for mediocre Texas food?

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          For the same reason that New Yorker's come here and decry the lack of decent pizza, North Carolinians & NC BBQ, Jersyites & hot dogs, Philadelphians and cheesesteaks etc. etc., ad infinitum. Can't wait to go down to their neck of the woods and then complain about how they don't know jack about crabcakes. That being said, I disagree about the lack of good Mexican food here in MD. Go to Riverdale/Edmonston in Prince George's County and you'll find plenty of it, although it may be a little too authentic if you're used to "Tex-Mex."

          1. re: treetop tom

            Respectfully, I'm not a big fan of Riverdale. Mom and Pop places in Amarillo, El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio, etc. are a whole different world from there.

            1. re: Joe H

              Like I said, people used to watered down mexican food usually can't hang with the real thing like they serve in Little Mexico. I love it because it's authentic and not some other region's interpretation. But you're right - if you're looking for Americanized Mexican food (chile con carne, nachos, fajitas, burritos etc.) you won't find them there except at the Alamo (which is pretty good and venerable). But to each his own.

      2. Why don't you go to Ray's the Steaks instead and get really good steak? All the Texans I know love Ray's. They are in Arlington not a far jaunt from you're route. Best steak in DC, comes with mashed potatoes and creamed corn and you can order other sides. The only drawback is they normally have wine, but not liquor. It used to be incredibly hard to get into, but with their bigger space it shouldn't be as bad. They have good key lime pie too.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          Forgot to mention, they no longer live in TX either

          1. re: drlee_susquespine

            Texas Ribs and BBQ in Clinton MD has been getting good reviews. Capitol Q used to have some decent Texas BBQ, but has long since gone downhill.

            One of the issues is that most bbq places around DC do either Carolina, Memphis, or Kansas City barbecue. You won't find clod or even much decent brisket around here, KBQ being a notable exception.


            12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

            Texas Ribs & BBQ of Clinton
            7701 Old Branch Ave, Clinton, MD 20735

            1. re: drlee_susquespine

              I am not quite sure exactly what you are looking for as I haven't had too much Tex-Mex food from Texas, but I really like Guajillo much more than Uncle Julio's (although their shrimp diablo is pretty good we live near it so we go). You might check out the menu and see if it is the style you are looking for. I really like the lamb tacos, chimichanga and other things.

          2. For Tex-Mex - the closest you can get, not necessarily good though

            1) Austin Grill (fake Magnolia/Kerbey Lane)
            2) Chevy's (like a generic Pappasito's)
            3) Mix Tec in Adam's Morgan
            4) Taco Trucks in and around VA and MD

            1) Capital Q in Penn Q in DC serves brisket - sauce is like Rudy's. I don't ever seem to see the smoke ring on their brisket though.

            2) Willard's out in Chantilly - actually has the name of all the great bbq spots in Cen Tex on the wall. Of which, I've been to most. Shame it's not in the same ball park as those.

            3) TX Rib Kings - don't bother. There's nothing Texas about Ribs to begin with.
            4) KBQ - super sweet sauce.
            5) Mr. P's - 2 locations, BBQ out of a converted school bus which is a plus, but not really Texas style
            6) Old Glory in Georgetown- as good as Red Hot and Blue
            7) Red Hot and Blue - it's not TX BBQ
            8) Rockland's in Glover Park - I might go back, but I won't get the Brisket again. And what they make you pay up here, is damn near criminal.

            If you're in B'More, i'd stick to what they do best, Pit Beef.

            1. Urban BBQ in Rockville (Pike and Twinbrook) featuring "Lee's Texas brisket" and Texas sweet tea. Can't vouch for authenticity

              1. The closest to real Tex-Mex around here is Cactus Cantina on Wisconsin Ave. in DC. It's right near the Cathedral, so you could maybe do a little sightseeing and get a good meal at the same time. Street parking is always an issue, but the Cathedral has a garage! You have to pay, of course.

                The other "close as you can get this close to the Mason-Dixon line" Tex-Mex is probably Rio Grande in the Rio Center in Gaithersburg. I'd give Chevy's and Austin Grill a miss. AG used to be good, but that was a LONG time ago.

                As for BBQ, there are some approximations, but not the real thing. Willard's out in Chantilly VA is as close as I've experienced. Haven't been to KBQ yet.

                1. Texas restaurant food may be hard to come by, but I they carry two TX favorites - Husband-Pleasin' Ranch Style Beans and Wolf brand chili - at the local Harris-Teeters.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: treetop tom

                    I have never been able to find the Wolf brand chili there, but they are a godsend when it comes to satisfying my Ranch Style beans cravings.

                    It's been too long (for real) since I've had a big steaming bowl of Wolf brand chili though.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      At the Columbia, MD, H-T they have the original, hot and turkey versions. It was never my fave, but I know people who love the stuff.

                  2. Drlee, sadly I have to concur with littlew1ng. None of the TexMex in our area really comes up to the authentic Southwest standard that you are probably used to. This isn't to say that they don't try. It's just that the meat/agro product just isn't as ingrained, so most restauranteurs and diners have no sense of the genuine article. (BTW: I'm a native Washingtonian who has spent lots of time in the Southwest.)

                    Case In Point: You will get nothing even approaching the quality of fresh-roasted chilis that are common in every little Texas carryout. Most places will use canned ones. Even the ones that will roast fresh ones do it on the burner top, or will use some sort of kitchen torch. I've never seen a place that does them over an outdoor wood or charcoal grill.

                    I could go on, but you probably get the idea. Good luck!