Tuesday, April 12, 2011

El Real Tex Mex on Westheimer/Montrose

New by the same owners of Reef, Stella Stola, and Little Bigs.  I heard about El Real from a new client and an investor in the group.  Sharp fella and straight shooter.  Since he mentioned their soft opening, I had El Real on my to do list.

I drop off my lease, Touareg, today at Volkswagen and have Jonathan Sosa (VW Momentum Sales) take me home, but make a stop off at El Real for lunch.  Side note, Jonathan was always friendly with my dogs while I dropped off my car for maintenance reasons. So I've known of him since I purchased my Touareg, but when my lease was coming up, he coincidentally answered the phone.  He put me in a few cars to test drive and it was so nice of him.  I think I had the Tiguan for a few days, as well as the Jetta.  It's where I fell in love with bluetooth!  Anyways, if you're looking to buy a Volkswagon, he really is awesome.  He's not salesy, is honest and really listens. Also, he brought me a red velvet cupcake from Sugarbaby's, which is not my favorite cupcake shop, but the red velvet was so cute and soooo good!  And hello...anybody that brings you cupcakes is awesome!  Ok, before this turns into a blog about Volkswagon, back to this new tex mex dive.  This building used to be the old tower theater.  It's not the most visually appealing design, is it?  Looks more like a 99 cent super store  or something.

I like the interior, but again, not very Mexican.  I like a traditional Tex Mex looking joint.  It's not bad though, I like all the space and depth.  There's space on this side, some over here, some over there.  It's not just a big open room like this photo.  The cool thing is they have old movies running.  I think they're Mexican movies or something, not sure.  Mostly business crowd and a good size.  My favorite thing is strung lights, gives off a festive feel, which you see in this photo.

You walk through the restaurant and if you want to sit outside, you end up out here.  It's a beautiful day so this is where we're sitting today.

Here we are sitting outside.  It's a gorgeous day, but it is getting hot, low 80s.  I'm appreciating the shade right now. 

We're facing Westheimer and though it's a great location and great for car watching, the business across the street isn't very nice to look at.  I'm sure that will change soon.

I once heard from a nutrionist that 1 chip is 1 gram of fat.  Even though I know this, it really doesn't change my eating of the chips and as much as I do.  The chips were pretty standard, the salsa I liked because it was warm and substantive.  I kept asking Jonathan if he tasted a soapy flavor.  He said no, said he was trying to see it, but no, he doesn't.  Later we discovered, walking into the restaurant, it smelled soapy.  He thinks it's the chips, maybe it is.  I liked it anyways and we had a second basket.

Jonathan got the taco al carbon.  I have the hardest time saying that dish.  My tongue just doesn't roll right from the "al" to the "carbon".  Those words just aren't right.  Also, with his dish came a tamale, which he wasn't expecting and referred to as a "plus".  I forgot to ask him how his tamale was.  The taco al carbon, he said was really good and that the fajita meat was..."dare I say comparable to El Tiempo?".  I tasted it, while it did have a good beef fajita flavor, I think El Tiempo's beef fajitas are better.  It's much more juicier and more flavorful...my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I love chicken enchiladas.  Before I found it, I didn't like Tex Mex so much.  The chicken enchiladas here were okay.  I thought the corn tortillas were a little too hard.  The chicken inside was fine, nothing to blog about.  I asked for the black beans instead of the refried and our server had to ask the kitchen if they could do the substitute...really?  I wasn't expecting it to be refried black beans, so on his return I asked him if they were as bad as the regular refried beans.  He asked the kitchen and said they said no because it doesn't use animal products.  It's made with olive oil.  Really?  I don't know why I find that hard to believe.  I didn't eat very much of it, just in case.  But, it was definitely good...nice and pasty...with a nice black bean taste.

I think this is a great use of this space.  I can't even remember what was going on here just before.  As far as I can remember, nothing really has flourished here.  But, I like that it's a Tex Mex restaurant, decent to good food, it's central and super spacious, with outside seating...under shade, cause we all know how hot it can get in Houston.  Although I like the spot, like the idea, it's not my favorite Mexican restaurant.  Definitely worth a visit and I'll have to try something else next time...as my motto is...give it 3 trys before you say adios!

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