Where to eat
With every new month comes another edition of CultureMap Dallas' hotly anticipated feature Where to Eat. Often, these lists focus on what's new and hot, and that's true of the September installment but with an extra-hot twist: These are five hot restaurants that are specifically Mexican or feature Mexican cuisine. One is newly opened, another has a menu that goes beyond Mexican, Never has a month seen such a bounty of spicy sizzlers, all independently owned, with loads of heart and soul and great eats.
Here's where to eat in Dallas right now:
Casita Tex-Mex Bar and Grill
Longtime Mexican restaurant at 5807 Blackwell St. behind the main Half Price Books, reopened August 30. They'd been closed since December 2020, following a fire that ravaged the kitchen. Their menu includes brisket tacos, chimichangas, flautas, combination plates, shrimp fajitas, enchiladas, nachos, breakfasts, and a menu of "Austin-style Tex-Mex" with soft tacos and Mexican pizza. They recently introduced a yummy-looking new dish: chipotle chicken spinach quesadilla with fries and spicy ranch.
Chips & Salsa Tex-Mex and Cantina
Family-owned spot in a former Cindi's Deli at 2001 Midway Rd. #132 is serving fajitas, enchiladas, breakfast, brunch, and margaritas in a multitude of flavors. They use good fresh ingredients, often with a twist — such as the fajitas, which include not only bell pepper and onion, but also fried wedges of potato, skin still on. Fajita options include chicken, chicken & mushroom, salmon, rib eye steak, or veggie only, which is a fresh and unusual choice. They have a good touch on seafood with dishes such as ceviche, caldo de mariscos, and diablo shrimp in a fine hot red sauce, served with rice and mixed vegetables that include zucchini, chayote & yellow squash, onion, mushroom, and poblano pepper, with everything cut into large enough chunks that they still have body.
Mexican restaurant with steaks opened in August at 3933 Main St., in the former home of Dallas BBQ institution Mac's Bar-B-Que, and is related to a string of highly rated street taco/sandwich shops that include Torteria Insurgentes and Tortas Revolucion. Don Chabe represents an expansion, with a menu that includes some of their staple tortas and tacos, but also steaks with classic steakhouse sides. Options include ribeye, sirloin, or T-bone, served with two sides, priced from $17.99 to $19.99. Portions are generous, with steaks served on wooden boards, big enough to share. Sides include mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, fries, cheese fries, roasted corn on the cob, steamed vegetables, rice, or baked potato.
El Rincon del Maiz
Taqueria that opened in a former Sonic Drive-In in Garland in 2021 is the talk of the Dallas food media world thanks to its recent inclusion on Bon Appetit’s list America's 50 Best New Restaurants for 2022. Their menu includes typical fillings such as pork and beef, but they've also embraced the vegan Mexican trend popular in Dallas with vegan options such as jackfruit, hibiscus, and coconut, served an an eye-catchingly colorful variety of corn tortillas in different flavors such as beet, orange guajillo, and green nopal). El Rincon was one of seven Lone Star State restaurants to make the list but the only one from the DFW area.
East Dallas is in love with this new restaurant from chef Jose Luis Rodriguez that just opened at 2706 Samuell Blvd., previously home to long-timer La Acapulqueña. 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," their unique rendition of the classic French grilled cheese sandwich. Other dishes include everything from shrimp bisque to filet with a wedge salad to Buffalo wings to a schnitzel sandwich, featuring a thinly-sliced breaded tenderloin topped with mozzarella cheese, beans, lettuce, tomato, and onion on toast, served with truffle fries. 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.