I recently found myself hanging out around Camp Bowie West, a part of town I refer to as “The Oil Change District,” looking for a bite. I needed somewhere within walking distance of the Discount Tire near the Benbrook traffic circle. After losing a round of curb derby the day before, my right tires looked like New England Patriots footballs. In past visits to the tire store, I was saddened by the area restaurant situation. I typically just closed my eyes and pretended the shoe leather tacos from the Taco Cabana are actually the duck confit tacos ($14) from Salsa Fuego (3520 Alta Mere Dr.). But before I even had a chance to astral project myself, I noticed that a new Mexican food joint had opened just behind the Pepto Bismol-colored dysentery factory. So I trekked across the strip mall landscape of lava rock and concrete to check it out.
The owners Mi Cocula Mexican Grill (6550 Camp Bowie Blvd.) have apparently never heard the first three rules of real estate: location, location, location. The whole strip mall is set so far back from Camp Bowie it’s visible only if you happen to be looking in that direction. At least Mi Cocula is at the end of the hidden shopping center, but that’s a little like getting the corner office in an underground building. The new eatery is the brainchild of the Moreno family, who are no strangers to the restaurant game. They once owned a popular taqueria in Weatherford, so they probably know more about where to open a restaurant than I do.
As my beloved and I walked up to the entrance, a man enthusiastically jumped outside and opened the door for us. On the way to our table no fewer than four people wearing orange shirts welcomed us. We were a little disheartened by the lack of rose petals at our feet, though.
The sparsely decorated dining room was packed with a Westside ladies-who-lunch crowd, though there’s nothing particularly feminine about the menu. The fare sits in the comfy space between haute Mex-Mex and good ol’ Tex-Mex, and every bite we put in our mouths was delicious, served hot and quickly.
Our lunch started off with a bang. I’m still craving the quesadilla primavera ($7), a mélange of squash, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms smothered in pepper jack cheese and shrouded in a buttery flour tortilla, with guacamole and sour cream on the side. For my entrée I opted for the tacos pastor ($8). The slow-cooked pork was tender and complex, with a subtly sweet pineapple flavor. The trio of street tacos was topped with cilantro, red onions, and a spicy chile pasilla made from dried peppers and served with a grilled jalapeño. The accompanying charro beans had so much bacon in them I was temped to skewer each bean on a spit and roast them over a fire with an apple. The mixed fajitas ($10) with chicken and beef were merely standard-issue Tex-Mex grub but well-seasoned and moist.
We didn’t sample anything from the margarita list, but it had some interesting-looking drinks. Maybe I’ll go back for happy hour sometime and sip cocktails with the Westside ladies –– if I can find the place again.
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