By Amanda Rogers
The Food: Tex-Mex favorites like tacos, enchiladas and fajitas, plus brunch, lunch and kids menus.
The Story: We arrived at Jalisco’s Mexican Cantina on a Friday evening and were quickly seated. There appeared to only be a couple of servers taking care of all the tables, but we got homemade salsa and tortilla chips almost as soon as we sat down. Our meals arrived almost as fast, within 10 minutes of placing our order.
The salsa was definitely made in house with a good consistency, not runny and not chunky, with a just a sting for an aftertaste. We shared a bowl of chile con queso ($4.99) that was better than average, a creamy blend that was mild and flavorful.
We were in a chicken mood, all of us choosing different meals.
The evening’s special, Gorditas Sopes ($7), delivered three fried puffy pockets filled with shredded lettuce, chunks of tomatoes, shredded chicken (beef was an alternate option) and shredded queso fresco (white cheese). Delicious, even if we could only handle two of the three gorditas.
Looking for more heat, one of my dining partners found it in the Spicy Enchiladas Frescas ($9.99), shredded chicken, and queso fresco stuffed inside tortillas and topped with chile rojo, lettuce, sour cream, avocado slices and more queso fresco. Comes with rice and refried beans. The chile rojo was a fiery surprise that had his eyes watering and him scraping the plate. Be sure you have something to drink before you dig in – he downed three glasses of water to get through the meal.
The Chile Relleno ($9.99) was a poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, ground beef or chicken and topped with chile con queso, shredded lettuce and pico and served with tortillas, rice and refried beans. The queso soaked into the pepper and gave it a hearty, delicious flavor. The beans and rice are both mild.
The Chicken Fajitas for One ($11.99) came on two plates, one a skillet sizzling with a mound of white onions, chunks of tomatoes and slices of white chicken and the other with pico, guacamole, sour cream, beans and rice. Fajitas for one was easily enough for two and way more than I could handle. The onions and chicken were delicious, sauteed and flavorful.
For dessert, we had to try the Sopapillas ($4.25), a half-dozen triangles of light fried dough dusted with cinnamon and sugar and just the right finish to the meal.
The Atmosphere: Jalisco’s Mexican Cantina has been a downtown fixture for decades, dishing up affordable meals in a dressed-up cinderblock building. It feels like a diner with one big room and a dozen tables and booths. There’s also a couple of large covered patios, one on the side and another in the front of the building that were getting use even in August.
The Details: 102 W. Oak St.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 817-473-4145. Beer and margaritas available; happy hour 3-6 p.m. weekdays.
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