Muchacho, the new Tex-Mex restaurant from chef Omar Flores, opens in Dallas – and you should get there now
Food writers, in particular, often assert otherwise, but Dallas restaurants do three cuisines particularly well: steaks, BBQ and Tex-Mex. None revolves around ingredients foraged from the banks of the Trinity River.
I wrote a couple of well-trafficked stories about two of those three cuisines for USA Today (I’ve left BBQ alone); the next time I update the story about who serves the best Tex-Mex in Dallas, a newcomer called Muchacho is going straight to the top.
Muchacho, you likely remember me announcing in June, is chef Omar Flores’ take on classic Tex-Mex, the iconic Texas cuisine that virtually everyone loves. At Muchacho, which opens Monday, Flores and business partner Alec Marshi (the same team behind Whistle Britches) elevate Tex-Mex to Next-Mex. And you’re gonna like the lift.
Flores has a right to tinker with Tex-Mex. He’s a classically trained, immensely talented chef who hails from El Paso, a border city often heralded for its Tex-Mex. And he knows what he’s doing.
At Muchacho, which I previewed last week, Flores proves masterful at marrying El Paso’s Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex and ranch-house-grill traditions. He’ll toast guajillo and ancho chiles until they’re supple and pliant, whirl them into a satiny sauce whose tang and fragrance will make your head spin, then spoon that rojo over fresh corn tortilla enchiladas stuffed with melted Jack and Chihuahua cheeses. Instead of whipping up a plate of pork shoulder carnitas tacos, he’ll roll thick, crisp planks of roasted pork belly inside freshly made flour tortillas, pump pinto bean friljoles full of garlic and onions, and serve you a big dollop of guacamole brightened with lime juice and sea salt.
I could eat platters of his tampiquena – tender mesquite-grilled steak mopped with a dark chile glaze then plated with roasted poblanos and onions, those cheese enchiladas, a heap of Spanish rice and a pool of those frijoles. Try it once, and I’ll bet you could, too. Unless, of course, you fill up on from-scratch Margaritas and a skillet of queso fundido, that classic starter of gooey melted cheeses and chorizo that you spoon into warm tortillas.
The place is a real looker, done up with plush, hand-tooled leathers, big windows, pretty brick, iron-and-rope fixtures and lots of caballero details. Except for the minivans and Suburbans parked along its perimeter, you could plop the patio at the Four Seasons Resort and it would be right at home.
Tex-Mex has its roots in scrappy, low-cost ingredients. Not here. Flores, employs fresh, high-quality ingredients and skillful technique to magnify every flavor. Expect crowds at this Preston Hollow restaurant. You should join them.