Tequila Rain Still Charms

Posted May 12, 2010 by Chow, Baby in Eats

Can it be that Chow, Baby is actually mellowing as it slowly and handsomely ages? Sounds like crazy talk — and yet when Chow, Baby entered Tequila Rain Cantina & Grill (415 N. Main St., Euless) to be immediately set upon by Hulen-style ultra-perky hostesses and hyper-chipper waitresses, it didn’t yearn to pop a single one of them. In fact, Chow, Baby was charmed. Weird.


Perhaps it was just contagious new-adventure enthusiasm: This is the month-old reincarnation of the original Tequila Rain, which earned a loyal following during its two-year run on Pipeline Road in Hurst. Chow, Baby forgot to ask or care why they moved, but this site is bigger and fancier (bistro lighting, brick bar), has a much better view (cool, airplanes taking off from D/FW!), and has the same great authentic Mexican cuisine (i.e., no chili con queso). Vivacious Natalie — Chow, Baby’s song about her, “Nati, Nati / Bring me another fantastic barbacoa taco” still needs a bit more work — anyway, vivacious Natalie started us off with tostadas ($10.99) piled dangerously high with lettuce, tomato, and feta, plus many big ol’ shrimp — marinated, grilled, and wonderful. Bring me more of these shrimp, Nati!

And so she did, bouncily bearing a shrimp combo platter (chico $22.99, serves 2-3) that sizzled for so long we were looking for a sound chip hidden amid the shrimp, hot links, chicken and beef fajitas, and tablitas, those funny-boned thin strips of tender beef. Not quite enough left over for a midnight snack, so let’s add some tacos: The 13-hour-roasted barbacoa (four for $7.99, with cup of charro beans or menudo) are the best, but only by a narrow margin. Juanito’s (hard shell with ground beef), Juni’s (flour tortillas with fajita meat), and Matamoros-style (corn tortillas with fajita, queso fresco, and guac) also deliver wonderfully spiced meats and crisp-fresh veggies. True, you can get cheaper tacos at your neighborhood taqueria, but the new mellow Chow, Baby is happy to pay a premium for bistro lighting, airplanes, and cheerful Nati.


Lunch a la Cef

Chow, Baby doesn’t specifically remember making this wish, but it came true anyway: Zambrano Wine Cellar (910 Houston St.) is now open for lunch! Unfortunately Chow, Baby’s permanent wish didn’t come true on its visit, as delightful owner/host Cef Zambrano was not in the house. Chow, Baby consoled itself with a fresh-as-spring beef tenderloin salad ($14), an umami fest of beef strips, tomato wedges, and chunky blue cheese dressing that tasted housemade and not from a big jug from Sam’s Club (not that Chow, Baby would know what that tastes like). Salads also come in chicken, Greek, caprese, crab cake, and chef varieties ($12-$15), but Chow, Baby moved on to the lovely-quiche category (ham & cheese or spinach & asparagus, $11) and thence to sandwiches ($10): Italian panini, turkey panini, or chicken salad on wheat. There are also daily-special fancy pizzas (generally $18-20, serve 2-3).

Even though Cef wasn’t there, his presence was felt. For example: The side of fresh fruit that came with Chow, Baby’s pesto-swirled turkey panini is not yer cheap, lazy cantaloupe pieces with maybe one chunk of honeydew; Cef tosses in the good stuff, like raspberries and blackberries. Small detail, but goes to show: Trifles make perfection, but Zambrano’s perfection is no trifle.

Contact Chow, Baby at chowbaby@fwweekly.com.


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