It takes a lot of courage to open a restaurant. It takes courage plus confidence to open an enchilada joint in a neighborhood east of downtown Fort Worth that’s already full of taquerias, tortillerias, and other traditional Mexican eateries. Owner Mary Perez had already found success selling her bottled enchilada sauces at places like Central Market, so she had a clue that Enchiladas Olé –– her maiden voyage as a restaurateur –– might prove popular. A recent afternoon visit showed that she was right. Her small menu of appetizers, breakfast items, and enchilada entrées was simple but memorably tasty.
The Smoky Quesadilla appetizer, which doubles nicely as an entrée, came out first, and it was terrific. A large, thick, fluffy whole-wheat tortilla was cut into six large wedge shapes. From our choice of beef brisket, chicken, and cheddar as fillings, we selected the bird and were delighted with the big, lean chunks of white meat mixed with gooey cheddar and what appeared to be savory bits of mild green chiles. Served with a creamy dollop of citrusy guacamole, a smear of cool, smooth sour cream, and a serving of zesty pico de gallo made from finely chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro, the quesadilla proved a marvelous on-the-go lunch.
All of the enchilada plates come with two large enchiladas rolled in soft corn tortillas, rice, refried beans, and a small side salad. The sides were standard but solid. The rice was oven-hot, pillowy, and addictive, the pintos a kind of pudding with whole beans mixed in, and the salad a fresh concoction of shredded iceberg lettuce, bright red roma tomato slices, and two triangles of fresh, sweet pineapple. The tropical fruit, it turned out, offered a marvelously light and refreshing counterpoint to the relative heaviness of the Mexican fare. More Mexican restaurants should work this fruit into their dishes.
As you’d expect, the stars of these dishes are Perez’ sauces: distinctively flavorful without overpowering the contents of the tortillas. The “original enchilada plate,” which would just be called “cheese enchiladas” in most places, was nonetheless wonderful, filled with velvety cheddar and topped with a brownish-red ancho chile sauce that emphasized the earthiness of the pepper more than its spiciness. Healthy eaters will want to try the vegetarian enchilada, stuffed with grilled slices of fresh summer squash, poblano peppers, and zucchini and topped with that same hearty ancho chile sauce.
One fantastic culinary achievement was the plate of enmoladas: enchiladas filled with smoked chicken breast and topped with the chef’s signature mole sauce. Now, mole is easy to screw up. This beloved combo of peppers, spices, and unsweetened dark chocolate can come out not only looking but tasting like dark brown sludge. Perez’ version allowed more of the round, rich chocolate flavor to come through. The enmoladas were fantastic but, thanks to the sauce, a lot more filling than they looked.
During our visit, the weekday late-lunch crowd was sizable, especially for a small establishment designed primarily for takeout and catering. (They deliver orders of at least three items within a few miles.) Though it’s been open only a couple of months, Enchiladas Olé has established a reputation as a neighborhood mecca for quality, health-conscious, modern Mexican fare.
901 N Sylvania Av, FW. 817-984-1360. 8am-3pm Mon, 8am-9pm Tue-Thu, 8am-10pm Fri-Sun. All major credit cards are accepted.
Breakfast taco ………….. $3.50
Smoky Quesadilla ……… $6.99
Original Enchiladas ……. $5.99
Vegetarian enchiladas .. $6.99