I love trying the newest restaurants in town, the places where you want to see and be seen. But the truth is, my heart lies with the small Mexican places where they often don’t speak English and a TV in the corner plays telenovelas or soccer. Tiny little family run places with simple, humble food that can just be so great. Flores Mexican Restaurant is a step above those places, but the spirit is still there.
The margarita offerings are solid and the Mexican martinis hold up against any other I’ve had. The thin, restaurant style chips are paired with a slightly garlicky salsa. No complaints here.
One of my favorite dishes, here and anywhere, is tortilla soup. It’s my litmus test. And Flores really gets it right with flavorful broth, chunks of corn on the cob, veggies that are cut large but are still soft and tender. It’s served with a hefty portion of flavorful rice that makes it a meal, yet keeps it light on the avocado and the cheese. I want to feel full from my soup, not fat.
Norma’s Tampiqueña Plate is a succulent tenderloin that tastes best Mexican style, or smothered with onions and ranchero sauce. It’s served with that same flavorful rice, avocado salad, and the best beans in Austin. Yes, that’s a bold statement. And I mean it. Those frijoles a la charra are infused with so much onion, garlic and bacon flavor, they can steal the attention from their main course counterparts. And I’m not one to wax poetic about a bean so this is serious.
Perhaps my favorite dish is the Pollo Poblano. I’m really a sucker for flavorful, marinated chicken breast cooked well. It’s taken off the grill the moment it reaches perfection, so it’s moist and tender, then topped with onions, poblanos and jack cheese. And you know how poblanos are, sometimes they are mild and sometimes they’ll getcha. I prefer a deep esophagus burn myself and this dish has left me draining my water glass pretty quickly.
I posted a couple menu snippets so you can see how cheap this food is. The four locations are all quite popular, having stuck the right balance between great food and great prices. Which is becoming an endangered concept in Austin today.
What are some of your simple, go-to restaurants?