Los Tios in Houston

 

I’ve Been Revisiting Los Tios in Houston for Decades….

I am a fourth-generation Houstonian. When my great grandfather moved to Houston in 1870, there were no Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurants here. It’s a different story now, however. I have been a lover of Tex-Mex food all of my life.  In fact, I believe that my first exposure to Tex-Mex food, other than my mother’s cooking, was probably a Swanson’s Mexican TV dinner in the early 50’s. My first Tex-Mex restaurant meal was in the iconic El Fenix on McKinney in Dallas. So, I’ve been around Tex-Mex for awhile.
 
Now, there are so many Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston that there is actually competition for our business, and Los Tios is a big player in this competition.
 
As usual, many Houston restaurants are offering “Summer Specials” geared to the hotter weather. Los Tios is no exception and as I hadn’t been to a Los Tios Mexican Restaurant in a while, it seemed like a good time for a revisit. 

Los Tios is usually a good choice for consistent Tex-Mex in Houston, and it’s fun when they have menu additions that are either “off-the-menu” or seasonal specials. The Summer Specials are only going to be around through August, according to the menu. We also tried a couple of the off-the-menu offerings, which may have a longer life. This visit was to the Beechnut location in Houston (across Beechnut from Meyerland Center}.

Summer Taco


We (four of us) started with an unlikely dish for this genre of restaurant… the Summer Taco.  Not that tacos are unusual in a Tex-Mex restaurant, but these were on the requisite “puffy” tacos and were filled with a chilled chicken salad.  Served with guacamole and pico de gallo, these cool fresh tacos were praised by all of my fellow diners, and I felt that they would be perfect for the fourth person in a party who is leery of “Mexican food” or is looking for a healthier option.

Tostada Poblana


Next was a Tostada Poblana which was another chicken dish and a take on a traditional tostada, but covered with a Mexican version of chicken salad.  Smokey grilled chicken, refried beans, lettuce, avocadoes and tomatoes are drizzled with a creamy Poblano dressing and queso fresco (a Poblano chile is a very mild pepper, typical of Puebla.  Queso fresco is a mild white Mexican cheese).
 

Ceviche Tostada
 

The third special offering was, by far, our collective favorite… the Ceviche Tostada. Topped with a shrimp and scallop ceviche, it was cool and tangy with fresh lime juice and a raspberry chipotle dressing and served with an avocado salad. I’ll always have the ceviche in every restaurant that offers it and this one is nice and a good choice to accompany items from the Los Tios’ Tex-Mex offerings on the regular menu (or the off-the-menu items that were offered by the server).

Off-the-menu Combo Plate #14

My wife had an off-the-menu Combo Plate #14 which had a cheese enchilada, a taco al carbon, chicken quesadillas and pico de gallo. The quesadillas were crispy and the grilled beef within had a nice taste and aroma of Mesquite smoke. To be fair to readers, I have to point out that all of my life, I have eaten cheese enchiladas (maybe, as a child, they were cheap), and I have never eaten them, nor seen them without chopped onions to compliment the chili gravy atop the enchilada. I just reach for them and assume that they will be there. If you ask for them, they’re there in 60 seconds… but they should automatically be there. Period. Anyway, the cheese enchiladas were/are good.
 

Fish Tacos

 As a regular traveler to the Baja of Mexico, I am always testing the Fish Tacos wherever I go to compare them. I’ve had them from the taco stands in Tecate to the beach bars in Ensenada. You would think from listening to those who proclaim expertise in tasting them that they are rocket science. They aren’t.  They’re lightly battered fish (various types) and a lot of shredded cabbage, etc. Get ready… these are just as good as those on the Pacific coast of the Baja in Mexico. They’re not Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and the fish CAN make a difference, but these are good. The Raspberry Chipotle sauce is a nice touch on them, and not typical to Mexico, but neither is most other Tex-Mex food, is it?

Flan
 
 
 Tres Leches
 
Sopapillas
 
Dessert is always fun in Mexican restaurants, and the choices are as predictable as the sweet pralines that will come with your check. The three desserts that we ordered were: Tres Leches (a Mexican sponge cake soaked with three types of milk), Flan (a Mexican custard with caramel sauce, topped here with whipped cream and a cherry), and Sopapillas (light puffy donut-like pastries served with honey and caramel. They were all what they are supposed to be… and all delicious.
 
Los Tios has been around for a long time so I’m not going to review the regular traditional menu, but I recommend the three Summer Specials (especially the Ceviche Tostada!) and suggest checking out the off-the-menu offerings.
 
 
There are four locations in Houston and they are listed on the Los Tios website:
 


 

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