HOME > Chowhound > Dallas - Fort Worth >

Discussion

Tex-Mex for a reluctant skeptic

Greetings all-

I'm a non-Texan, and I want to love Tex-Mex -- I really do -- but Mia's, Manny's, Matt's Rancho, Joe T. Garcia's, Gloria's, Monica's all seem unremarkable. In a few visits, I just haven't found anything impressive.

Where do you go, and what do you order? Chile con queso? Brisket anything?

[By comparison, I've been bowled over by El Si Hay, Bubba's, Hattie's and York Street, so nothing against DFW food as such - it's just this one category that I don't get.]

Thanks in advance...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Uncle Julio's is great - I love the carne asada, they have great salsa and great fajita beef! You might also enjoy Cafe San Miguel on Henderson near Uptown. I believe I ordered enchiladas and they were fantastic!

    -----
    Cafe San Miguel
    1907 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

    Uncle Julios
    1125 N Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061

    1 Reply
    1. re: beatlesfankp29

      I quite like the chicken fajitas at Uncle Julio's ... don't think I've had better.

      Of the restaurants on your list, I've been to Joe T's, Matt's, and Gloria's. Joe T's is the very definition of mediocre, so no surprise there. Matt's I have found to be variable, and Gloria's nothing special.

      I like the chicken enchiladas at Pappacito's, the shrimp tacos at Fuzzy's (some will argue it's not Tex-Mex--I say it is). I don't think there's a chile relleno anyplace I've been to compare with the one at Juanita's on Sundance Square, now tragically closed (so I would love recommendations). The Mexican Inn makes masa fresh daily, and from there corn tortillas and Frito style chips. Those & the salsa are all great. I used to love the arroz con pollo (which lately has been tough) and the taco salad (half beef half beans), which when I ordered it this weekend was short on both. Not sure you're going to think it's worth going if I can't come up with an entree to recommend ;) A few months ago I'd have mentioned Dos Gringos, but given the hair in my food last time I was there, I'm extremely reluctant to go back myself.

      The brisket tacos at Taco Diner *can* be good, but sometimes are greasy. Sometimes the beans aren't good, and last time I had the Tacos Cancun, which are shrimp (and not recommendable).

      Oh, Cuquita's ... have the barbacoa tacos there. But not the tongue or chicken tacos ...

      This doesn't sound very good, does it ... one of our few authentic regional cuisines, you'd think we'd be able to come up with a huge long list of great stuff. And perhaps we still will.

      -----
      Uncle Julios
      1125 N Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061

      Taco Diner
      432 Grand Ave, Southlake, TX 76092

    2. Tell us what you liked about El Si Hay so we can help you out. Out of all the restaurants you listed El Si Hay is closest to Tex-Mex (actually I have given up on most Tex-Mex also).

      I am sure we can get some dishes that might resemble some of the tacos (just guessing) that you had at El Si Hay. If you are done with Tex-Mex then we can give some suggestions for taquerias and the like also.

      3 Replies
      1. re: LewisvilleHounder

        Benjamin.L, I totally agree with you on the restaurants you thought were unremarkable. They are! El Si Hay to me, is the perfect example of a little Tex-Mex taqueria. I'm crazy for their tacos Al Pastor! Although, you really must try Taqueria El Fuego at Plano road and Campbell in Richardson. They serve sensational fresh, home cooked food and, made from scratch (right there!) corn tortillas.
        Depending on where in Dallas you live, I'd suggest El Fenix as well. NW Hwy. or McKinney Avenue in downtown Dallas. Good solid old school Tex-Mex.
        I've never been to Uncle Julio's but, everyone I know who's been there (Lemmon Avenue location) loves it.

        -----
        El Fuego
        1891 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

        Uncle Julios
        1125 N Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061

        El Fenix Restaurants
        6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

        1. re: twinwillow

          I would be sure to get a recommendation if you're going to try another El Fenix location. It can be solid, or it can be warmed over & quite bad. I've had good luck at the Beltline location in Addison. This is your grandfather's Tex-Mex (or perhaps I should say my grandfather's--he liked El Fenix).

          -----
          El Fenix Restaurants
          6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

          1. re: foiegras

            My late mother's as well. At El Fenix on North West Highway. I love their cheese enchiladas with chile con carne sauce, extra cheese, onions and cilantro.

            -----
            El Fenix Restaurants
            6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

      2. On the note of taquerias, Danal's has opened a taqueria in the Grapevine location (121 SB near 360 fork) that Taqueria El Fuego gave up on back in the fall. Was talking with an acquaintance that works next door and she said the place stays pretty busy during the lunch hour.

        -----
        El Fuego
        1891 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

        1. I'd take Mex over Tex-Mex most any day. But when I do eat it I usually get enchiladas. I dislike fajitas because the flour tortillas all taste like store-bought (and I could easily make better fajitas at home). At least with an enchilada it's completely drowned in sauce.

          (Chile con) Queso is a religious thing for one of my co-workers, and it's often tasty, but shoving blocks of velveeta down my trap isn't exactly a nice thought.

          I do like chips and salsa if the chips are fresh and light and the salsa is tasty.

          1. I agree that all of the places you mention are unremarkable. If you are looking for a few more to try, I can make some suggestions but none could ever be considered gourmet by any means. I am not sure I would describe any tex mex as "impressive"-just yummy.
            Mariano's (any of the grilled beef dishes)
            El Fenix ( tortilla soup)
            Chuy's (chicken rellenos topped with ranchero not the tomatillo)
            Uncle Julios (fajitas as others have mentioned-probably the best in town)
            O'Jeda's (I have been going here for years but the food isn't all that great but the meltdown margarita is one of the strongest in town and it make the meal taste better)
            Pepe and Mito's (i have recently grown to like this place but I only have the lunch specials mainly enchiladas)
            Calle Doce (seafood tex mex)
            Veracruz cafe (not sure if this is correct name but the little place in Bishop Arts...)

            I am sure there are more but these are the one's I frequent after 35 years in Dallas.

            -----
            Chuy's
            3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

            Uncle Julios
            1125 N Union Bower Rd, Irving, TX 75061

            El Fenix Restaurants
            6391 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116

            5 Replies
            1. re: fixer

              Yes, I agree that Chuy's is great! Everything I've had there is top notch - especially anything with the Hatch green chiles, which will give you a hint of that great New Mexican flare!

              1. re: beatlesfankp29

                Another vote for chuy's. I love the green chile sauce.

              2. re: fixer

                I loved Chuy's until I saw a waiter loudly hawk up a loogie and spit it on the table to get up a spot instead of going to get a wet rag. Another waiter was talking to him as he did this and made no comment about that behavior. Beyond disgusting and we haven't been back. We told the manager but he was rather blase about it.

                -----
                Chuy's
                3408 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75074

                1. re: dalaimama

                  Chuy's is without a doubt, the most horrid restaurant (and I use that term generously) in Dallas!

                  1. re: twinwillow

                    Care to elborate? We go once a week. It's clean, the service is always great, food well prepared.