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Juan Moreno Mi Cocula
Chef/owner Juan Moreno’s Mi Cocula is an expansion of sorts of his El Rey Taqueria. Lee Chastain

The Morenos may be newcomers to the Fort Worth foodie scene, but they’re no strangers to the area. They opened El Rey Taqueria in Weatherford three years ago, but chef Juan Moreno and his family recently closed that popular taco joint to launch Mi Cocula Mexican Grill. The focus on Tex-Mex and Mex-Mex cuisine hasn’t changed dramatically. It’s just widened to incorporate some fancy, almost-American steak and seafood dishes.

Located in a strip mall, Mi Cocula sits in that part of Camp Bowie Boulevard that’s just past the nice stores and eateries but right before the pawn shops and fast food joints. The locale offers easy parking plus the perks of posh shopping nearby.

The interior is minimalist almost to the point of nonexistence. It’s just one large dining room held down by several four-tops and, along one wall, some beige booths. The walls are white, adorned by only a couple of Modernist paintings. The ambiance is very un-taqueria-like.

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One of several tortas on Mi Cocula’s menu is the Cubano, which the waitress said is really popular in Mexico. The sandwich was a meat-heavy blend of sliced ham, pan-fried round steak, slices of salchicha (similar to a hotdog in flavor and texture), and tender chunks of lightly seasoned pork shoulder. The varieties of meat created complex layers of salty, smoky, and peppery flavors that perhaps surprisingly complemented one another. The sandwich was rounded out by melted Swiss cheese, a generous slathering of mayonnaise, firm avocado slices, fiery sliced jalapeños, fresh tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and red onions. All of this goodness was served between two dense, buttery, toasted slices of French bread and accompanied by three golden-fried potato wedges.

For a few extra bucks, the beef quesadillas can be upgraded to brisket. The choice was worth it. Six mammoth wedges arrived with freshly made guacamole, sour cream, and a homemade chipotle sauce. The generous portions of brisket were fork-tender and rich in beefy flavor. Golden grilled onions and gobs of tangy Monterrey cheese added to the richness, although the meager serving of smoky dip had us asking for more and more.

Besides enchiladas, burritos, and a variety of street tacos, Mi Cocula also dishes out a flavorful chimichanga. The deep-fried brick-sized burrito was exploding with grilled green peppers and onions, black beans, and slowly stewed chunks of steak that had a mild chili seasoning on them. Ladled on top was a rich, creamy queso sauce that blended into each delectable bite.

The cinco leches were a rich and rewarding ending to the meal. Five large square hunks of vanilla cake had been soaked in a thick blend of cream and coconut milk with just a hint of rum. The soaking gave the outside a spongy texture full of sweet, milky flavors while the inside remained light and fluffy. A few slices of ripe strawberry finished off this delicious dish.

From beginning to end, the servers were attentive and knowledgeable about the menu.

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Mi Cocula Mexican Grill

6550 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. 817-708-2895. 11am-10pm Sun-Thu, 11am-11pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

Chimichanga………………………………………………. $11

Torta Cubano……………………………………………… $9

Quesadillas w/brisket………………………………… $12

Cinco leches………………………………………………. $5.50

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