Recently, they invited me to a press dinner. Since I wasn’t anonymous or paying for the meal, and this is based on just one visit, don’t regard it as a review. Rather, it is a description of the new place.
The new location is at once both familiar and different. Same museum flat ocher walls, same menu, and same friendly and capable staff. However the centerpiece trompo is tucked away to the side, behind a splash barrier, and you won’t find a circular floor griddle or a dramatic bar (just a few seats at one end of a counter). Indeed, the emphasis here seems less on the show and more on rapid delivery of food to the clientele. And clientele they have.
Jump for more.The place was buzzing on Friday night all the time that we were there. Flat screen TVs on every walls were broadcasting a Ricky Martin concert shot in a cobalt blue light filter that made him look vaguely, vague. The restaurant demographic is lots of families with kids (too young to remember Natalie Imbruglia I expect), some couples like us, out for an inexpensive evening meal (out tab was $25 and we took home enough food for another meal). In addition, our drinks, Tamarind Margaritas, were a bargain at $5 each. They are an interesting experience if you haven’t had one before – possibly the sweetest margaritas out there when frozen and served with salt round the rim.
What would I recommend? Among the appetizers, the Chicharron de Queso ($5). A Mexican Dosa-like contraption of cheese fried on the griddle. Choriqueso ($4). A mesmerizing melt of cheese on chorizo on flour tortillas. The chips are made in house. They are deep-fried tortillas according to our waitress. They are the best I have had in Dallas. The guacamole ($6) that accompanies them is a coarsely mashed and rustic avocado, cilantro, and onion blend.
The Tacos section of the menu offers a Parrillada Tizoncito ($8) which is a smorgasbord plate of three tacos, a quesadilla, and a pile of guacamole that affords an easy entry to what this section of the menu offers.
The Alambres section of the menu is typical of how El Tizoncito takes an unfamiliar concept and compartmentalizes it to make it accessible. Alambres, according to the menu, are “Our Kabob replica without the skewer on 4 corn tortillas. Cooked and chopped with poblano pepper and onion”. Now I understand. The Pastor con Queso ($7) was a juicy mélange of pork and cheese wrapped in a double thick tortilla and thoroughly satisfying as such.
Much remained untried. However, we will be back because El Tizoncito succeeds through a combination of innovative menu design (how so many stuck-in-a-rut Tex-Mex chains would kill for founder Leo Spencer’s creative bent), impeccably friendly and diligent service, the right price point, and a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. Since its opening the Forrest Lane location has established itself as a neighborhood favorite. Little wonder they are now looking for a third location (expansion appears to be a one-neighborhood-a-year strategy).