Tex-Mex veteran debuts new Familia Restaurante in Irving with mole & more
A new Mexican restaurant with a long backstory has opened in Irving. Called Familia Restaurante, it opened at the end of November in a former taqueria at 5330 N. MacArthur Blvd Suite #108, in Las Colinas, where it's serving a menu split between authentic Mexican and old-school Tex-Mex.
The restuarant is from Roberto Villa, who built a longtime local following with his previous concept, 7 Salsas, which he first opened in 1993 and which had two locations in Irving and Coppell.
Fans loved its classics like cheese enchiladas and chimichangas, with food that was reliable, well prepared, and at bargain prices. But he shut down 7 Salsas in 2019, preceding the pandemic.
"I'd been in the restaurant business all my life, and I got the idea that I wanted to retire," Villa says. "But I became restless, and would often hear from customers who missed our food."
He also craved the opportunity to expand the menu and try dishes he hadn't served at 7 Salsas.
"About half of the menu at Familia has dishes from 7 Salsas like chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce - but the other half has dishes where we've ventured more into authentic Mexican," he says.
One showpiece dish is the Pollo en Mole featuring bone-in chicken in mole sauce, accompanied by house-made corn tortillas that are moist and thick. The chicken is said to be fall-off-the-bone tender with a complex sauce combining notes of cinnamon, clove, and chocolate.
The new dishes have a kind of homespun quality like the Don Enriquez featuring cubed pork in a spicy Chile morita sauce; grilled chicken in a creamy poblano sauce that's vividly green; Rellenado De Res, featuring fajita-style skirt steak with Anaheim pepper, jack cheese, queso, rice, and borracho beans; and Tablitas: beef ribs in a "special very spice sauce," with rice and borracho beans
Santa Fe enchiladas are an unusual twist, consisting of open-faced enchiladas with choice of beef in chili con carne or sour cream chicken, served with moist rice and beans.
There are shrimp rellenos and fish tacos, and also a serious vegetarian selection including veggie enchiladas, a veggie relleno, portabella fajitas, and the Arias veggie bowl with rice, black beans, avocado, and glistening plantains.
And just for fun, they have a peach cobbler which is served in an ironstone skillet, topped with a heap of vanilla ice cream.
The space itself is small, clean and bright, with maybe a dozen tables, and they don't yet have a liquor license. Service is sweet, and their chips & salsa, featuring a thin, crisp chip served warm, comes with not one but two salsas: a spicy red and a green salsa that's both creamy and tangy. What more do you need.