Tex Mex Trial (and Error)


We don’t really like Tex Mex that much.  There, I said it.  Maybe it’s the places I’ve tried (if someone has a reco, send it my way). Since I moved to Texas several years ago, I’ve repeatedly attempted to like Tex Mex.  In San Antonio and Houston alike, margarita happy hours with chips and salsa are practically a way of life.  Anyway, my parents were in town and they really love Tex Mex.  Unfortunately, they live in Pittsburgh and the options are limited.  Based on a friend’s recommendation, we decided to take them to Los Barrios on Blanco Road. 

The place was packed, so J and I figured it must be good.  We started with some drinks, 3 margaritas and a glass of sangria.  The sangria was very good, but J and the ‘rents reported that the margaritas were a little light on the tequila.  The chips and salsa were good, but nothing special.  We snacked on chips as we reviewed the enormous menu.. thankfully, the wait staff replenished our chip supply a couple of times.

muy tropicales

My mom’s dinner choice was definitely the best of the orders, despite the fact that it wasn’t really hot.. or warm.. when it arrived.  She had the Brochettes Tropicales, chicken stuffed with jalapeño, cream cheese and wrapped in bacon grilled on a skewer with onions, tomatoes, bell pepper and pineapple.  Actually, this dish would have been fab if it had arrived at a higher temperature.


My dad had the brisket gorditas and he thought it was okay, but a little dry.  J ordered the Los Barrios Deluxe, a plate of 2 beef tacos, 2 cheese enchiladas, and a strip of steak plus the usual rice, refried beans, and guacamole.  J’s exact words were, “it was like eating a salt lick, other than that, it was completely indistinguishable from any other Mexican place.”  I have much kinder things to say about my fish tacos. They were a bit bland, but not bad.

3 milks

After the entrees, we were still working on the margaritas, so we decided to order a slice of tres leches cake.  J and I fancy ourselves connoisseurs of tres leches cake.  It’s our favorite and we have had tres leches from countless restaurants and bakeries.  Our wedding cake was even tres leches!  This tres leches was alright – not amazing, but still good enough that we finished it.

While the food was less than amazing, the restaurant does have a good vibe and the staff is very friendly and quick.  And, I really like the restaurant’s story, which is printed on the back of their menu.  Basically, Viola Barrios came from Mexico with a few recipes and opened a little restaurant in a garage.  I love that!  Pursuing and reaching the American dream!   I love that the restaurant is family-owned and I really admire the family’s charity, Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation, a foundation to help women in need in San Antonio and in Viola’s hometown in Mexico.  Bonus points for hard work, family and charity!

More pics here.

Our rating: 

Atmosphere 6.0
Service 6.5
Food 4.0
Total 5.5

Just ok.  Maybe we were there on an off night?  I am committed to being a Texan, so we’ll keep looking for at Tex Mex place we really love.

Los Barrios
4223 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 732-6017

Check out urbanspoon, I’ve posted there as well! 
Los Barrios Mexican on Urbanspoon


14 responses to “Tex Mex Trial (and Error)

  1. Next time your folks come to town, try taking them to any of the great little mom-and-pop taquerías around town. (Based on my own experience, you’ll have to go inside Loop 410, but it will give you a solid baseline for real Tex-Mex. Other than J’s combination plate, none of the stuff y’all ordered at Los Barrios is Tex-Mex food.)

    And yes, you really must’ve hit Los Barrios on a really bad night, or else they’ve really gone downhill fast in the last year or so.

    • Great suggestion. I have a bad habit of not trying restaurants that don’t have a website.. but I suspect I am missing out on some really great food! A feel a New Year’s resolution coming on 🙂 And, yes you are right, J was the only one that had true Tex Mex. My post would be more aptly titled, “Various Latin-inspired Foods Trial (and Error).” We’ll have to give Los Barrios another try on a less hectic day. The place was packed, and the kitchen may have been struggling. Thanks for your comments!

  2. I live in Houston and would go to San Antonio almost yearly with my family. It’s a shame that you haven’t found a Tex-Mex restaurant that you can really enjoy. There’s a place called Mi Tierra in the Market Square in San Antonio. Granted, I’ve never eaten there for any meal other than breakfast, we always make it a point to go there before leaving and load up on pan dulces.

    • Thanks Rachael! Yes, Mi Tierra is on our list of places to try. I’ve only ever had the pastries and bakery goodies, but they are delicious! I am sure we will find some good Tex Mex. After all, we’ve only been to one here in town! What’s your favorite in Houston? I like El Patio on Westheimer (the one in Midtown just isn’t the same!)

      • I actually live on the southeast side of Houston. Our favorite is a place in Bacliff called La Brisa. There’s another one in League City right off of 45, but it just isn’t as good. 🙂

      • Haven’t heard of La Brisa, but thanks for the suggestion. Next time we’re back in town, we’ll try to hit it up!

  3. It’s a shame you didn’t have a good experience at Los Barrios; we’ve had some bad nights but usually enjoy our visits there. The Hacienda out on Redland Rd is more consistent. (But I agree with the commenter who pointed out you didn’t really try TexMex.)
    I suggest you skip Mi Tierra – it is a tourist trap and not very good. La Margarita at El Mercado is better. We also recently stumbled across El Mirador in Southtown; only been there once but thought it really stood out.

    • Yep, you are right.. def not Tex Mex. Either way, it wasn’t good! 🙂 Thanks for your recommendations, I’ll add them to our list of places to try. I’ve heard from others as well that El Mirador is really good.

  4. Hi Molo, hope you’re doing well in SA. Jimmie Roan said some things that I agree with regarding La Hacienda, Mi Tierra and La Margarita. Go to La Hacienda when the weather is nice and sit out on the deck. While I have had better Tex Mex, the setting is perfect. Of the three I listed I remember La Magarita being the best food, although it has been a long time since I have been there. The place that I always go to in SA is Rosario’s downtown. I can’t believe noone has mentioned it!

    PS I need to try El Mirador also.

    • Thanks for the note Aaron! I have heard great things about Rosario’s – and it’s in a cool part of town! It’s definitely on my list 🙂

  5. I understand your love for Tres Leches. I too love tres leches, my wife didnt care for it at all until she tried the one at Paloma Blanca. I wont tell you how good it is, you just have to try it for yourself. (My wife is a HUGE fan of their tres leches cake now.) Oh & the food is very good there too, they have some great fish tacos. There are times that we just stop in for the tres leches, its worth it. (They also have a chocolate tres leches cake which is good, but not as good as the original.) ¡Buen Provecho!

    Paloma Blanca

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