The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

El Chico – Real Tex Mex

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on December 14, 2009

While we were in Dallas, our friends recommend we try a “real” tex-mex experience.  As you know, we are always interested in local cuisine, so we absolutely were interested in whatever recommendation we could get for “real” tex-mex.  They recommended El Chico and El Fenix.  We made our way to the local El Chico restaurant on Friday.  We can easily say that it was incredible.  There was nothing about the meal or service that was anything less than top-notch, and we were so impressed that we raved about our experience all weekend.

Our meal started with the expected complementary chips and salsa, but we were pleasantly surprised that we received queso, too.  The addition of the queso, actually caused us to forgo any kind of appetizer.

Our fabulous server, Christina, sold us immediately on a fresh margarita with a “shot of cheer” (Tuaca).  We were expecting a 12 oz. margarita, but was faced with this monstrous margarita.  It was one of the best margaritas I’ve ever had, and I think it was not only the margarita, but I really think the shot of Tuaca gave it something special.

After looking over the menu, we really couldn’t decide on what to order.  Seriously, what do we know about authentic tex-mex?

So we asked for some recommendations from Christina, after telling her we were from out of town.  She gladly provided some thoughts for us, and commented that pretty much everything on the menu was really good.  I know, I know, she’s got a bit of a conflict of interest with telling us how good the food is, because she works there.  She did confide in us that things were generally good, because all the ingredients were so fresh.  “We don’t even have a microwave, here.”

After taking our order, she asked us some more questions about ourselves, and we told her that we write a travel and food blog.  At that point she offered us some corn and flour tortillas to snack on.  I don’t know if the tortillas are always complementary, but I’m guessing they are always excellent.

Then our food came. The Wife had El Caballero; a spicy beef burrito with chili con queso, a chicken enchilada with sour cream, and a cheese and onion enchilada with chili con carne, along with a hard beef taco.  Oh, and don’t forget the refried beans.

The hard taco came separately.

I had Ruben’s combo; a beef burrito with queso, a chicken burrito with sour cream, and a bean burrito topped with chili, along with a puffy taco.  The puffy taco was basically just a ground beef hard taco, with the shell being in the shape of a bowl, vice a “taco.”   If I had to put a low point on the meal, it would be trying to eat the puffy taco.  Its shape and texture made it difficult to get into, so I basically just broke into it, and then went to town on the taco insides.

Honestly, the food was remarkably fresh.  I couldn’t believe how fresh it tasted, actually.  Everything was exceptional, which was inline with the salsa, queso, margaritas, and tortillas.

After we were done with dinner, our server told us that since it was our first time, we each could have a sopapilla.  It came with butter and honey, and was lightly covered in cinnamon and sugar, and all together it was awesome.  It was still warm, and basically had the taste of a lightly fried pancake.  Was it healthy?  I don’t think so.   It was, however, an excellent top-off to an otherwise exceptional meal.

On our way out, we saw a small but prominent display supporting our troops, and those fallen in battle.  We thought it was so quintessentially Texas, that we had to take a picture.  To all those in the American military, or otherwise in harm’s way for American policy; Thank you and God Bless You.

We don’t know if El Fenix was any good.  It might be, but we didn’t try it.  We DID try El Chico, and between the food and the service, we were so impressed with our dining experience, that we’ll be headed back to El Chico before we give El Fenix a try.


3 Responses to “El Chico – Real Tex Mex”

  1. Kath said

    Beard is lookin’ nice!

  2. Rebekah said

    El Fenix is really, really, really good too! In fact, I like it better than El Chico!

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