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Austin Mexican Food - La Fonda bah! Curra's - YES!

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  • Iptacita Mar 22, 2006 12:54 PM

Recently having moved from California, I've been on the lookout for good Mexican food in Austin. I've been generally amused by the local penchant for "chili con queso" (read velveeta mixed with salsa) that is served here and the flour tortillas. Where oh where can I get a good home made corn tortilla, not to mention some Carnitas???

My mom (Mexican American) came here to visit from Vegas this weekend and I was REALLY on the spot to please her (not easy). I had been looking for an excuse to visit La Fonda San Miguel, which is supposed to be a nationally known Mexican gourmet place. I had been for appetizers and drinks a few months before and loved the sopecitos and watermelon martini/margarita. So we went last night for the full dinner with the 'rents. Such a disappointment!

First I asked for that wonderful watermelon margarita/martini which I had been told 2 months before was a specialty of the house. The waiter looked at me with confusion and said there were no watermelons. "Yeah" I thought "... there probably weren't in January, either, but you managed it then.... " So I got a $10 pear margarita that did not taste of pear. It was small and when my glass was empty (quickly) no one asked me if I wanted more. The waiter seemed in quite a hurry to get us in and out.

The appetizers - I was TRULY disheartened that the waiter first suggested that we have some chili con queso with our chips. This is an expensive restaurant. I have spent considerable time in various parts of Mexico and never have I seen velveeta, I mean, Chili con queso on the menu. They say its from Chihuahua. Ok, I've never been there. Maybe Chihuahua has a special brand of velveeta. And I never saw the La Fonda queso, maybe it was something different. I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, I denied our waiter the pleasure of bringing us this regional specialty (guffaw) and I opted for the sopecitos (delicious!) and the ceviche for the table. The ceviche was good, but pedestrian, and not really served so it could be easily shared. It should have been served in a bowl. The fish was tough - typical of a counter-type marisco place. One mangy piece of avocado on top and no hot sauce or chilis served with it. I'd enjoy it as a lunch snack, though.

Entrees
The fish dishes (all one kind) were all "market price" which seemed scary - we had to ask the price, but it turned out all the fish was $19. I think it was all snapper or something similar. My mom had the Veracruzana (which her mom in Mazatlan used to make.) She said did not taste fresh, was mushy and sat in liquid on the plate. She suspected canned tomatoes. I had an ancho relleno which was stuffed with a chicken mixture in a pool of cilantro cream. It was very pretty and pretty good although I needed a salt shaker and it was a little small. The sauce came on at least 2-3 other things on the menu and was very simple. I would probably not order it again. I do love traditional chile enogada, which has a complicated walnut cream sauce, much more complex than this.

My step-dad had pork chops that he liked a lot - they were rotisserie cooked and looked quite good. My husband had some grilled beef (carne asada) that he said was pretty but not filling nor special tasting. He was still hungry after he ate it. For a $29 beef plate, he should have felt fed.

All of their enchilada plates here are $18. Enchiladas should not cost $18 imho. Maybe they do something extrordinary with enchiladas but I cannot imagine what that might be - they aren't even described except that you can get mole, green (verde) or cream sauce (suizas) with pork, chicken or cheese.

With dinner, we had to ask for tortillas and my mom thought that her second one was flour. This displeased her. I didn't taste them, so I didn't know.

The dessert was the worst. Just awful. My family had what was described as mangos with home made ice cream. This conjured up a vision of juicy fresh sweet mangos with fresh creamy ice cream. The menu said to ask what kinds of special flavors of ice cream were available that day. They did, hoping for a mango ice cream. Well, the special flavor for the day was vanilla. Woo Hoo. So, they got it anyway and 3 large goblets with a small dollop of ice cream on the bottom were placed in front of each diner. Then the waiter poured from a vat of boiling syrup into each large goblet. While the boiling liquid was being poured (glop, glop, glop), it splashed on my mom (she yelled "ow!".) Waiter seemed non-plussed. My husband had three small slices of what seemed like canned mango floating in his syrup, now milky with the totally melted ice cream; my mom had only ONE lonely little mango slice. It was gross. Just gross. They ended up drinking the slightly milky syrup like a fruit drink out of their bowls.

I had what was described as almond flan. Now, there is an almond flan gelatina that is very traditional and which I have made before. Its silken and beautiful. This was a flat hard cold custard pie with chucks of almond in it. It wasn't nice or special or like any postre I've had in any good restaurant in Mexico.

This was an expensive meal, yet the service was rushed, and it did not live up to its hype. The building is beautiful, though. I'd go back for half price happy hour drinks and appetizers, just to soak up the ambiance but thats it. I, of course, got to hear a tirade from mama about how bad the place was and how it just catered to gringos.

I also took her to Curra's Grill which we LOVED. Curra'a grill is the best Mexican in Austin that I have found. Too bad that it has rickety tables and is a tad funky for a dinner house and to take your 78 year old grumpy mom, although my mom loved it and didn't even seem to mind the hippie atmosphere once she started eating her cochinita pibil and platanos. I had fantastic mole there, btw. Just perfect mole. Too many people think mole is chocolate sauce with a hint of chile. Its supposed to be chile sauce with a hint of chocolate! Curras is gooooood. Then we split a huge portion of tres leches cake which was fabulous and some fried platanos with cajeta sauce. I want to put Curra's food in La Fonda's restaurant. This is real and good regional Mexican cuisine!!

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  1. b
    Brian Lindauer

    > Where oh where can I get a good home made corn
    > tortilla, not to mention some Carnitas???

    Angie's on E. 7th, just east on I-35 has great corn tortillas and carnitas.

    Brian

    2 Replies
    1. re: Brian Lindauer
      s
      Seamus Mitwurst

      Dinner at Fonda is always just ok.
      The real meal there is brunch.

      Their queso is not Tex-Mex Velveeta crud.
      It's more of a queso flameado, maybe asadero with rajas.
      Better than your average queso, but still just cheese and chiles.

      1. re: Brian Lindauer

        yes! angie's carnitas are the shiznit. but you might be disheartened when first encountering the shredded american cheese they add on top. i urge you to fight any negative feelings towards fluorescent processed cheeses. power through. you will soon realize that it makes the perfect topper to their perfect carnitas.

      2. Chile con Queso, as made in Texas, is 'authentic' even with Velveeta. it is neither Mexican nor American, but has no less cultural history because of it. Yes it is made with processed cheese, and for that reason you may not like it (you wouldn't be alone), but please try to understand the context of the food served here before teeing of on subjects of authenticity. This book would be a good start,

        http://www.amazon.com/o/redirect?tag=...

        7 Replies
        1. re: LB

          La Fonda is supposed to be famous for its authentic regional Mexican cuisine, not "Tex-Mex." If you want Tex-Mex, you should go to a Tex-Mex restaurant, which is not what La Fonda is supposed to be. Chili con queso originated in Texas and is NOT a Mexican regional cuisine, although the menu stated that it was from the Mexican state of Chihuahua - which I think is bunk!!!

          The only melty cheese appetizer thingy I've had in Mexico is queso fundido, melted white cheese in a cazuela or similar earthenware plate or bowl with mushrooms or chorizo that you dip fresh corn tortillas into. This is awesome stuff but I think La Fonda has this, too. It aint Chili queso goop.

          1. re: Iptacita

            Oh, well I'm sure if you've never heard of it, it must be bunk.

            Link: http://www.lomexicano.com/chile_con_q...

            1. re: Pssst

              And another Peyton recipe/explanation -
              http://www.lomexicano.com/chile_con_q...

              Or maybe you trust Diana Kennedy?
              http://www.elook.org/recipes/appetize...

              Yet another reference -
              http://www.pepperfool.com/recipes/app...

              1. re: Pssst

                Recipes listed are pretty far afield from whats served in Tex-Mex restaurants! Did you notice that the recipe you copied was from a Tex-Mex cookbook, not a regional Mexican cookbook? Using queso de Oaxaca is quite far from the velveeta surprise here I've seen. What is described is closer to a queso fundido or a cheese sauce - which is very traditional and delicious! The yellow glue stuff served with chips as an appetizer is not regional cuisine.

                Also - To clarify, I have never had this at La Fonda - so I don't know what they serve. I do know that the waiter pushed it as a chip dip - because this is what they do here in Tejas. That was not what Diana Kennedy was talking about in Mexico. You want to melt some queso de Oaxaca for me on the other hand and give me some home made flour tortillas - I will definitely chow down with you!! Its my very favorite Mexican cheese!!

                There is nothing wrong with Texican cuisine. But it's its own style which is different than traditional Mexican food. Thinking about it though, Texas is almost like its own region in Mexico - considering its history. So, perhaps one could consider Texican cooking a style of regional Mexican cuisine??? Interesting issue to ponder.

                http://www.answers.com/topic/chili-co...

                1. re: Iptacita

                  "I have spent considerable time in various parts of Mexico and never have I seen velveeta, I mean, Chili con queso on the menu. They say its from Chihuahua. Ok, I've never been there. Maybe Chihuahua has a special brand of velveeta. And I never saw the La Fonda queso, maybe it was something different."

                  The menu at Fonda San Miguel clearly states that they serve the Chihauhau version of Chile con queso and that its served with tortillas. (FYI - I have had this dish at FSM and in Mexico. FSM, just like their menu states, serves the Chihauhaun dish, not the Tex-Mex variation) http://www.fondasanmiguel.com/menu.html

                  While Jim Peyton's website has a link to his latest book which is Tex-Mex, he has written cookbooks on Northern Mexico and his recipe clearly identifies its as a Chihauhaun dish and the second link explains the history of the dish.

                  The Diana Kennedy book is The Cuisines of Mexico.

                  Since you clearly stated your lack of knowledge of this dish, I was attempting to educate you on its existence with several citations so it would be clear that it wasn't the creation of a singular person.

                  And I cited known experts in the field while you cited Wikipedia which clearly states "WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedi...

                  1. re: Pssst

                    Thanks for the excellent information Pssst.

                    Scott

                    1. re: Scott
                      t
                      Tha Groovin' Gourmet

                      I second that emotion.

                      When discussing Mexican cuisine in the US, it is easy to run into misinterpretation as this thread so elegantly illustrates. With the various regional US styles abounding ("Where's the best TexMex restaurant in NYC?") and more authentic regional Mexican cooking coming into play, people can be disappointed if they go into a restaurant with misguided
                      expectations.

        2. We also tried Fonda because of all the rave reviews and we were very disappointed. Not only is the food and service nothing to rave about, but it is way overpriced. I have no qualms about paying for a good dinner but this wasn't worth it all. Since we've only been once, we'll give it another try, probably for brunch or at least drinks and appetizers. I love the atmosphere and the location is so close to my house. I really wanted to love the food!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Helen
            t
            Tha Groovin' Gourmet

            Do the brunch. It will change your perception dramatically. And get some of their chipotle salsa if you like it hot...have to ask for it.

            I'd agree that the service is not always spot on, but I've never had a bad bite in the place. There was a stretch when Miguel Ravago was not there and quality suffered, but luckily I missed that stretch (unfortunately my wife didn't).

            And while not inexpensive, I think the prices are in line with any fine dining establishment. This is not TexMex nor a taco stand we are talking about.

          2. I can understand the complaints about quality. Fine, you didn't like it. But I don't understand the complaints about price at all. Are you comparing the price with a taqueria or combo platter place or Chevy's? A fish dish at a fairly nice restaurant for $19 seems very fair. You'd expect it to be 50% more expensive if it were a French or Italian restaurant. Enchiladas are going to $8-12 at a combo platter place and they'll be using mole from a jar. I imagine Fonda San Miguel makes it from scratch.

            I think this is one of those cases where Robb Walsh's lamentations fit. Mexican food just doesn't get enough respect because we've become so used to the low end places and don't see it as an upscale cuisine.

            I wish Rachel Laudan's article about Mexican authenticity was still available on the internet for free. She rightly pointed out that the Mexicans she knows (I believe she either lives or lived there) cook with canned and processed foods just like us Americans do. Go into any Mexican market and you'll see aisles of canned goods, jarred sauces, Knorr, commercial, mass-produced cheeses, etc. This includes, btw, cheese sauce in a can. And this is the country that has brought the world Bimbo bread, essentially the Wonder of Latin America. Few Mexicans actually eat freshly made tortillas. They go down to a commercial tortilleria that produces stuff similar to what you can get at any supermarket (though theirs is fresher). Mexico is a developing nation with a growing middle and upper class who don't have the time, luxury, or necessity for food from scratch. More and more, what you find in Kennedy's books are what their abuelas made, just like for us here in the US we nostalgically remember our grandmother's meatloaf, gravy, apple pie, etc.

            Link: http://www.extramsg.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: extramsg
              t
              Tha Groovin' Gourmet

              Very well stated.

              From the sound of the original post, perhaps Miguel was not in the kitchen that night? I realize that's not much of an excuse, but it might be an explanation if a couple of dishes were not stellar.

              All that being said, I think anyone's first visit to FSM should be for Sunday brunch. Once you have that experience, you'll always hold the restaurant in a particular esteem. What an awesome Mex dining experience!

            2. I live right around the corner from the place - I ate there once just over three years ago (on a first date) and it was awesome.

              Ate there again last year with her mother and sister and it seemed okay but ridiculously priced. The link below was my sentiment a year ago.

              We are now getting married in April and will honeymoon in the Yucatan and then in Oaxaca. When we get back, we'll go to FSM to celebrate. I'll be an expert on Mexican cuisine because I will "have been to Mexico." I'll post then, but in a condescending, haughty sort of manner. I probably castigate Tex Mex and Americans in general.

              I did read that only one of the "seven moles" of Oaxaca contains chocolate.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              1. I've had spotty luck at both FSM and Curra's. FSM's corn soup has been the only consistently delicious item that I've experienced in about 5 visits overall. I recently tried the lamb chops with chipotle potatoes au gratin. Good, not great. I haven't been to Curra's in a while due to some poorly executed breakfasts and some bad service. Perhaps I should give it another try. I've been only to the Oltorf location. Is there any reason to prefer North Lamar?

                For home use, I rely on Central Market's corn tortillas. They are made on site and are very good.

                1. Linking

                  -----
                  Curra's Grill
                  614 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX

                  Curra's Grill
                  6801 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX

                  Curra's Long Bar & Grill
                  6301 W Parmer Ln, Austin, TX

                  Curras Grill
                  7604 Robalo Rd, Austin, TX

                  1. I couldn't agree with you more, Iptacita. You have to wonder if people are saying they like it because of it's reputation. I think the food is just okay and outragous expensive. I've been several times and leave dissapointed each and every time.

                    I really think that place is the Emporor's New Clothes.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: amysuehere

                      I think FSM lost it years ago and never got it back. Last time I ate there, about 6 years ago the food was flat, not interesting at all. Hardly any seasoning, but then again maybe that's the way Austin folks like their chili con quasi. (Remember the New Mexico Mexican place that was down on 6th? They closed because A folks didn't like their food even after they toned it down)

                      1. re: singlemalt

                        Six years is a long time, singlemalt, though I don't blame you for not returning if you didn't care for the food. Quite a few 'hounds have been underwhelmed with FSM more recently, though not all of them chimed in on this thread. Here are links to some of these relevant discussions:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364875

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352940

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/304597

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/358552

                    2. Ate at Fonda San Miguel last night for the first time in 9 years. As I remembered, the atmosphere was lovely- cozy, warm, and welcoming.We grabbed a couple of seats in the bar area to wait for our table. The bar area had many small seating areas that made it a nice place to wait. I had a margarita on the rocks (using house liquors) and found it to be a nice balance of sweet and tart. I don't drink a lot of margaritas because I find many restaurant versions too sweet, but this one was okay. Nothing special, but fine.

                      For an appetizer, we had a special queso asado with green chili pork sausage (advertised as made in house) with Swiss chard. It was served in a "fajita skillet" with a side of homeade flour tortillas. On top, were slices of sauteed poblano strips and onions. It was very much like their queso flameado minus the flames. As expected, it was cheesy, greasy, and filling- which are good things in this case. However, I did not find any Swiss chard in the dish, nor did the crumbled sausage have any noted of green chiles. But, in my book the combination of cheese, tortillas, sausage, and onions is a good one so I enjoyed the appetizer.

                      Sadly, things quickly went downhill from there. I, despite my better judgement, ordered the conchinita pibil. It was dry and boring and for $20.50 a total waste of money. I should have known better than to order a version of this dish for $20 when there are great versions available for less than half the price. It was served with white rice with peas and refried black beans. Hubby had the pollo en mole which had very, very strong notes of chocolate. More chocolatey than any other moles I have tried and neither of us cared for it.

                      Dessert was the cajeta crepes. It was a very boring dish. Two spongy crepes (folded in quaters) covered in a non-remarkable cajeta sauce with a golf ball-size scoop of flavorless (maybe it was vanilla?) ice cream and few slices of almonds. A waste of calories and money.

                      FSM is off my list of places to eat dinner, but remains an option to sit and have a drink and appetizer. The atmosphere alone makes me want to revisit the place, but I'll stick to the maragritas and queso flameados.

                      1. As someone that has been 100% underwhelmed by FSM everytime I have been there, I have to agree. They are resting on their laurels.

                        If you are looking for good interior mexican and tex-mex, try Azul Tequila down south. I think their food beats FSM every time: http://www.azultequila.com/

                        Best Rellenos in that I have found in Austin.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: bullsi1911

                          For real? Really-really?! don't tease me Bulls1911. a REAL chile relleno? No nuts/raisens/cream sauce blech?

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            Amysue, Check out the menu. They serve them several different ways. The interior Mexican with the raisins, cream, etc. and a couple of versions on the Tex Mex menu that may be closer to what you've been searching for.
                            http://www.azultequila.com/index.html

                            1. re: amysuehere

                              Like Rene said- they have both kinds. The one I like the best is is the Chile Relleno En Crema which is interior style with the "nuts/raisens/cream sauce blech", but a close second is the Cowboy Relleno which is shrimp Stuffed poblano appropriately fried and covered with cheese.

                              Man... I think I'm heading there after work.

                              Oh, beware of weekends when the Mariachi band is in the dining room. It can get deafening.

                            2. re: bullsi1911

                              I have not done the relleno there but we had a great meal at Azul Tequila about 3 weeks ago. I meant to write it up, but well. If you stick to the interior side of the menu you'll find some awesome items. (the tex-mex side wasn't very good). I need to go back and write down some dish names and post our thoughts.

                              1. re: bullsi1911

                                Azul's pibil is fantastic as is everything on the interior menu.

                                I've never had anything from the TexMex side except for the tortilla soup and it is easily one of the best in town...if it'd ever actually get cold i'll go get a bowl!

                                1. re: achtungpv

                                  Wow, good to see Azul getting some love on here. Not that I've eaten there (just had after-work drinks), but the pibil was recommended to me a while back and, upon checking the boards, I saw next to nothing. It's been on my list for a little while now, and probably moreso now. Thanks for the reports.

                                  -----
                                  Azul Tequila
                                  4211 S Lamar Blvd Ste A2, Austin, TX 78704

                                  1. re: Nab

                                    i agree! it's shown up on another thread or two. that's been one of my fave interior mex places for several years now. it's fantastic!

                                    1. re: Nab

                                      I had lunch today at Azul Tequila. I must say, for $5.50 it was a tasty lunch. I was a bit disapponited that the chimi was stuffed with 90% rice and only 10% chicken, but it was still very tasty. I found the hot sauce they brought out with the chips a bit too hot for me (I'm a wuss), but I loved the mild green sauce on the chimi. I'll definetly go back and try stuff on the interior menu.

                                2. I happen to really like the atmosphere at Fonda San Miguel, although I agree the food can be hit or miss. I also agree with several posters that brunch is the best experience--unlike most "buffet" type places, the food actually seems somehow fresher at Fonda San Miguel's brunch, perhaps because Miguel himself is there dishing it up, explaining, recommending, etc.

                                  Curra's on the other hand, I would not wholeheartedly recommend at any time. Just like FSM, they can be hit or miss, but when they miss, they miss by a much wider margin than I've ever experienced at FSM. I have gone to Curra's and enjoyed it immensely, only to go another time and be ignored to the point of anger, and then other times served food so plain that I would never have returned if it had been my first visit. My actual first visit, in 1999, was great, but none of my subsequent visits have quite lived up to that occasion. It has been mostly good, sometimes quite good, several times not good, a few times terrible. I'm not saying that I'd stay away, because I won't (it's right in my neighborhood, for one thing)...I'm just saying that when I go, it is always with some slight trepidation. I have also found that it is not safe to choose a favorite menu item and stick with it, because I have experienced the fluctuations in quality not just with differing items on the menu, but when ordering the same item: one time good, one time bad, etc.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: angusb

                                    I have never understood the allure of Fonda San Miguel. The food is mediocre and so overpriced as to be absurd. What I really don't understand are those of you standing up for the brunch, it is the worst value in town. Last time I went it was $40 a head and, while attractive, still unapetizing. Friends of ours often meet us there for drinks and appetizers, but if I had a vote, and my wife sees to it that I don't, I'd vote for anywhere but Fonda SM.

                                    1. re: gntlmn6464

                                      And Curra's is worse! (at least the prices are more in line with reality)--try Maude's for Tex Mex, try San Antonio for better Tex Mex, try Mexico City if you want to experience the breadth and and depth of the mexican culinary experience.

                                      1. re: tom in austin

                                        I see no mention of the pibil at Sazon on here which to me, is the best I've ever had. OK, so the only other one I've ever had is Curra's...but still, it's really, really good :)

                                        1. re: foodiegal71

                                          I agree. the pibil at Sazon is the best in town. Just wish the rice/beans and especially the tortillas would come up to par.

                                    2. re: angusb

                                      I agree about Curra's. It was not outstanding and I would not recommend. Azul Tequila has great food. Their conchinita pibil is to die for. Everything I've ordered there has been superb even though the place looks like a whole in the wall. Most people that go there for dinner are Mexican, which says a lot about the food.

                                    3. I have only been once to Fonda and was blown away, and having been dying to go back for brunch. Yes its expensive but as said on this blog, it is not a taco stand. You can get a pasta dinner for 8 dollars or you can pay 25 and get homemade pasta at Vespaio. The same is true for Mexican food. The ceviche was unbelievable in my opinion and i wish the glasses were bottomless because i think i could of eaten that much of it. The mole was another fabulous dish. As for their dessert i thought the caramel crepes were unbelievably addicting. It is a place that i wish i could frequently visit but because of the prices, it will have to be a treat for me.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sarahp

                                        sarahp,

                                        I'm going to try to not knock FSM (oops). I suggest you try Manuels Great Hills patio at happy hour one day. The ceviche and mole are both half price and imho just as good as FSM at a fraction of the cost.

                                      2. I must say that I'm reading all of this with some dismay--one thing for sure, though: none of the dishes discussed were ones I tried there. Chili con carne/melted velveeta and enchiladas, this really isn't what I consider Interior Mexican cuisine. If I wanted that I'd go to Jaime's on Red River and 8th or El Patio, or even better look for a TV Dinner at HEB. Really, that kind of texmex cuisine is kind of kitschy.

                                        Here's some of the stuff I've at Fonda San Miguel that really impressed me. A roast duck with Mole Verde--incredibly delicious, fresh and a bit spicy. By far the best Carne Asada I've ever had, not just because the meat had obviously been slow-roasted to the point of perfect tenderness, but because the spices used had quite discernibly been freshly roasted and ground. The only other times I've encountered that at a Mexican restaurant was once at Sazon, and once at the original Curra's. Other than that, only Indian and a few other Asian places go to such trouble. Several times I've had fish (snapper often) with that wonderful red picante Achiote sauce--I've learned how to make this myself, but I don't know of any other place in town that serves that. There's a funny scene in the film Once Upon A Time In Mexico (local director Robert Rodriguez) where Johnny Depp's character orders Puerco Pibil--using Achiote. In the DVD extras, Rodriguez actually thoroughly demonstrates how to make this dish, including the very fine Achiote.

                                        Every time I've been to the Sunday buffet (quite pricey, but still worth it, IMHO), the Ceviche (common throughout Latin America so not strictly Mexican) is as good as any I've had, including homemade versions by folks from Chile. In fact, that's the one thing about FSM, many of their dishes taste like the homemade ones--Mole, for instance, often has no zing, very weak in terms of spice, and not very heavily bodied. You gotta get homemade Mole, because most restaurants cut corners because most diners simply don't understand they're getting a cheap replica. Another brilliant thing at the FSM buffet is the Escabeche--by far the best I've ever had, the flavor stands out with authority.

                                        One thing I will say is I think most of the appetizers and drinks are a ripoff--I always go with water and an entree--or go to the buffet.

                                        Now, to Curra's: first off, you have to go to the one on Oltorf, it is the best. Definitely cheaper than FSM, but not as consistent. Once I had their mole chicken, and it was on par with the mole at FSM. Usually it is great. Sadly, it seems that Sazon has changed either their chef or their technique, because it seems they simply are not performing at the level they were a few months ago. Its sad, I wonder if they are cutting corners because they are struggling to keep the place afloat.