Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Houston Restaurant Weeks: La Casa Del Caballo

There are restaurants you drive by a million times and never stop - for no specific reason. We finally stopped at one such place during Houston Restaurant Weeks at La Casa Del Caballo. This building has had many names, and it's known in Houston as one of those 'cursed' locations from the many restaurants it's housed, and from an infamous fire.

Once the last garishly decorated, mediocre suburban Tex-Mex shuttered after four months, the building sat again for a while. Finally, in moves a genuine Mexican steakhouse with a good pedigree: La Casa Del Caballo. The owner, a northern Mexican, would grill for family and friends in his backyard. 

While more elegant than a backyard, the authenticity is undeniable when the smell of mesquite greets you upon entering the building. It reminded me of some very old-world restaurants in Italy and Spain. Nice!

The meal was very good overall, with some pretty outstanding elements. 

The tortilla soup with crispy tortillas, fresco cheese and guahillo pepper strips offered amazingly deep chile flavor. Really rich with umami goodness. 

I hardly ever have steak, but this is a steakhouse so the 6 oz. eye of the ribeye seemed appropriate. While a bit more medium than medium-rare, the quality and flavor more than made up for it. It was simple and simply gorgeous, with four different sauces to enjoy alongside it. I liked combining the tangy red onion and creamy avocado sauces. These mesquite grilled veggies were divine - I could have had a huge mound of them.

Greg's chicken enchiladas had that amazing red chile sauce on them, and it reminded him a little bit of New Mexico - we both really enjoyed it. And the crispy tortilla housing the chicken was impressively tasty and super-crunchy. The chicken inside was fine and predictable.

For me, the chocolate and white mousse was a pleasant texture - no grainy feel - though I didn't really finish much of it (I prefer very dark chocolate).  

Greg's Caribbean dark rum cake was moist and flavorful, and that sauce was super-delish.

I'd say we give this place a strong three stars. The decor is quite nice, quality of food is quite good, and plating is unimaginative. We hope they make it as there are plenty of steakhouses, but not northern Mexican ones.

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