Thursday, June 7th


When Mr. Betty and I first moved to Austin, Polvos was one of the first places we went to lunch. After the long drive from New Jersey to Texas, our cars needed some tuning up and Polvos was around the corner from the mechanic. That was four years ago, and we hadn’t been back since our first encounter. I didn’t remember anything about that visit other than the salsa bar. Admittedly, that’s all it took to impress me at the time.

Now that I’m a Texan an Austinite, I know a little more about Mexican food and decided it was time to go back. We went for dinner on a Saturday night a couple weeks ago and there was a short wait. We sat outside on the crowded porch and drank margaritas. They were fine, nothing special. It was too hot to eat outside, but I wish we made the decision to sweat it out. Because it is LOUD inside. Like, voices bouncing off the concrete wall, impossible-to-hold-a-conversation loud. Uncomfortably loud. The food would have to be really spectacular to overcome that atmosphere, and really, it just wasn’t.

Polvos vegetablesPolvos salsaA note about the salsa bar: it is not free. That’s the kind of thing that enrages some people. I don’t necessarily think I am entitled to free salsa, but I do feel entitled to refills on my water, which I could not get to save my life, despite the flames shooting out of my ears. Their salsa and the pickled vegetables at the salsa bar are very spicy. I didn’t mind paying, but I will bring bottled water in my purse if I ever go back.

Polvos Enchiladas

Polvos Carne Guisada

For our entrees we had enchiladas al pastor and carne guisada. I chose ranchero sauce for the enchiladas, and it was spicy and delicious. But the al pastor was loaded with so much pineapple that the meat was almost nonexistent. Mr. Betty’s guisada was also saucy and almost meatless. The portions were large, too much to finish, and the rice and refried beans were pretty good. But if the entree is just meh, what’s the point?

Polvos, I really wanted to like you. And if I am ever drunk and have earplugs and bottled water with me, maybe I’ll come back. Actually, I’ve described the perfect post-ACL scenario. Maybe I’ll see you in October. Maybe. 

3 Responses

  1. Jodi Bart says:

    I freaking LOVE the salsa bar and the margaritas. I’d be happy just with those. It was the very FIRST place I ate when I moved to Austin. We stopped there before we even got to our friends house where we were spending the night. You never forget your first Polvos experience.

  2. I live nearby Polvo’s and haven’t eaten there in YEARS. I’ve heard a number of people say that their food is quite good (and some of these are people who’s food opinions I trust), but after reading your description of how loud it was and that the food was so-so, I think I’ll continue to stay away. There are so many other good Mex and Tex-Mex places nearby! Thanks for the report!

  3. Stella says:

    Polvo’s is overrated, but their cheese enchiladas with poblana sauce are amazing, and their mixed chicken and beef fajitas are also pretty good. I love that dark, smoky salsa (you think their salsas are really hot? Ha!).

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