Until it closed a few months ago, Red Cactus was one of the most popular lunch spots in TCUland, offering fresh, cheap, and fast Tex-Mex in a brightly lit, antiseptic, fast food-esque dining room. Despite its popularity, however, the Cactus is gone, and the space is now home to Sol de Luna. And while little seems to have changed, the new joint does have a welcome South American kick.
No, we’re not talking about the décor. Aside from a preponderance of green paint replacing Red Cactus’ signature color and some new prints on the walls, the place looks pretty much the same.
The twist is in the food.
One new South American-influenced dish, the tostones, made for a great appetizer or light entrée. On a bed of four thick fried plantains, peppery grilled chicken breast slices, a generous sprinkling of chopped cilantro, chunky queso fresco, and a drizzle of mild “cream cheese sauce” were stacked high. For more kick, a mild creamy salsa verde came on the side. While the plate was delish, one thing could be improved — the plantains fluctuated between bland and overly salted.
The taco plate was another hit. To the standard lightly seasoned ground beef, salsa, onions, shredded cheese, diced cilantro, and zesty guacamole were added stewed potatoes — a nice touch. The accompanying refried beans were soft but not mushy, and the saffron-infused Mexican rice was fluffy and full of flavor. Some freshly blended hot sauce and a lime wedge rounded out this winning combo.
Like its predecessor, Sol de Luna serves up a massive — and tasty — chicken quesadilla. Each bite was a scrumptious blend of toasted tortilla, slightly tangy cheddar cheese, sweet and crispy slices of grilled bell pepper, and tender chucks of chicken. A garnish of sour cream, sliced iceberg lettuce, salsa, and diced cilantro hit all the bases in the flavor department.
One thing Sol de Luna offers that Red Cactus didn’t is coffee and espresso to go. The freshly ground espresso had a golden crema (foamy top) and a strong, robust flavor.
No one would say Sol de Luna is breaking new ground here, but for people on the go –– students and professors alike –– this new little eatery may shorten the mourning period over Red Cactus.
Sol de Luna
3005 S University Dr, FW. 817-996-9492. 7am-9pm daily. All major credit cards accepted.
Tostones w/chicken………. $4.50
Taco plate w/ground beef. $6.50
Chicken quesadillas……….. $6.25