Aug 13, 2011

Science of Tex-Mex, Part 2

A mere 8 months after landing my sweet Convio job, we finally went to Fonda San Miguel to celebrate!

Last night we went with 3 other couples to taste this Tex-Mex haven. Here's my review.

Chips, Salsa & Margaritas @ Fonda San Miguel
Margaritas: I had a house on the rocks and a frozen mango margarita. Both were excellent but of course, very different. I am usually a frozen rita girl but I do know that on the rocks is a little more of an art form. It tasted very fresh, very strong and very good. The mango margarita was a little more typical but again, the mango flavor was very fresh. Yum.

Queso: I love our friend Jon. I said "Should we get chile con queso or queso asados?" and Jon's answer was a very definitive "Both." God bless that man. So we had both. They were more of a stringy solid queso than the normal gooey dipping queso. But tasty. I like that both had peppers and onion in them. I also liked that they were served with a side of tortillas. Ross actually passed on chips and tortillas with queso, taco style.

Camarones Adobados: This was my entree. It was 6 or 7 jumbo Gulf shrimp over corn tortillas filled with sauteed peppers and onions and smothered in a black bean sauce. It was really really really good. I'm always a little hesitant to order shrimp away from Houston - I was so spoiled with shrimp caught that morning and on my plate that night - but this meal sounded too good. And it was really some of the best, freshest tasting shrimp I've had in Austin. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was driven in on ice that morning. It really didn't taste like it had been frozen at all. Delicious.

Other Entrees: I tasted some of Jen's (Ryan's date) sour cream enchiladas. The enchilada was good but it was the sauce that rocked my word. It was so sour creamy!! Ross shared his guacamole with me and it was great. I usually make and like really lime heavy guac but this was distinctly not limey. It was so avocado-y and delicious. I practically licked the plate to get it all. Jon and Chris both had the pulled pork tacos and said they were fantastic. I don't think there was a speck of food left on any of our plates when the meal was over.

Atmosphere: This might be one of the best parts. It's such a colorful and surprisingly for a Mexican place, tastefully decorated restaurant. I really loved all the ornate art and furniture.

Price: The four couples just all split the bill in half. With the exception of Patty (who is preggers) we all had at least one but mostly two drinks each. We split two orders of queso and all had entrees of course. It came out to about $60 per couple plus tip. Now we had a big enough party that they included gratuity but I really liked that both on the initial bill and on each of our credit card receipts for signing, it very clearly broke out the meal cost and gratuity. Unlike so many places, I really felt like Fonda San Miguel wanted you to realize you were already paying gratuity. They didn't try to pull a fast one on us which I appreciated.

It isn't someplace I'd go to mid-week for quick Tex-Mex dinner with the hubs but for a group on a special night out, it was a blast. It also got a lot of hype from Texas Monthly and other review/ratings groups. Maybe a little too much hype to be honest. I do think that it made a very good case for dispelling the idea that the best Tex-Mex places are cheap holes-in-the-wall. Those are definitely good, but high end Tex-Mex, also pretty damn good.

My final verdict is do again, with friends and plenty of time to soak in the experience.

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