There's a new restaurant in East Dallas that's full of surprises. Called Mixtitos Kitchen, it's from chef Jose Luis Rodriguez, and it just opened at 2706 Samuell Blvd., previously home to La Acapulqueña, which served authentic Mexican food and margaritas in that space for 33 years before closing in December 2021.
At first sight, Mixtitos appears to be a traditional Mexican restaurant, with tacos, ceviche, fajitas, guacamole, and steamed fish.
But the menu is actually a fusion of cuisines that include American, Mexican, and French. The talker: the "Mix Croque Monsieur," a unique rendition of the classic French grilled cheese sandwich.
In place of the usual thinly-sliced ham, they use discada, a traditional preparation from agricultural Northern Mexico with a combination of meats that can include flank steak, bacon, ham, sausage, and/or chorizo, held together in this sandwich by the melted Swiss cheese.
Other unexpected dishes include:
- Shrimp bisque: Cream soup with shrimp bites, garnished with cilantro
- Schnitzel sandwich: Thinly-sliced breaded tenderloin topped with mozzarella cheese, beans, lettuce, tomato, and onion on toast, served with truffle fries
- Japanese Shepherd's pie: Rice Karē (pork in a curry sauce) topped with white rice, pickled onions, and jalapeños, with Saltines on the side
- Filet Mignon: 6-oz filet with blue cheese, and a wedge salad
- Japanese tempura vegetables
- Buffalo wings
It's a departure from La Acapulqueña and new for a neighborhood that is not-quite-yet gentrified.
But the menu reflects Rodriguez' varied experience, including seven years at Charlie Palmer at the Joule Dallas hotel, as well as Bistro 31, Sloane's Corner, Café Brazil, Enrique Tomás, Jalisco Norte, and most recently Perry's Steakhouse.
In January 2022, he broke out on his own, founding an earlier version of Mixtitos Kitchen as a ghost kitchen, where he refined his dishes and got his feet wet before finding the La Acapulqueña spot. It's an inviting, energy-filled space that seats 84, with a vividly colored mural on the wall for Instagram opportunities, and a stage for live music, which they host Wednesday-Friday.
The restaurant has a full-service bar with made-from-scratch cocktails such as the frozen margarita swirl, featuring house-made sangria and garnished with a slice of dried mango dipped in tajin. Prices are low, with entrees averaging $15.
La Acapulqueña had a loyal following after having been in the neighborhood since 1989, and Rodriguez is honoring their memory by doing a few customer favorites — although with his interpretation — including nachos, enchiladas, and oysters on the half shell (La Acapulqueña specialized in Mexican seafood).
"We want to bring some light to this neighborhood that does not have the reputation it deserves," he says.