El Faro's chefs prepare a menu of Mexican eats exemplified by tacos ($2) in a choice of eight succulent meats, from carne guisada, to barbacoa. Mexican rice and refried beans flank headliners such as pollo piki piki—chicken breast with spinach, mushrooms, and cheese in a chipotle sauce ($8.99)—or the Monster burrito ($8.99), whose 14" tortilla frame packs meat, bathes in molten chili con queso, and crawls under children's beds at night. Enchiladas ($7.49) form a triad topped with verde, ranchero, or spicy guajillo sauce, and Friday evenings present all-you-can-eat dinners ($7.99) for unyielding appetites.
The chefs at Los Reyes fire up a range of dishes from traditional Mexican dishes such as sizzling fajitas and enchiladas to nontraditional fare such as american cheese and burgers. Tex-Mex plates help round out the menu with burritos and chimichangas slathered in chile con queso. Extending their culinary skills to the morning hours, they also craft breakfast fare such as Mexican omelets with jalapeños and beans, strawberry pancakes, and carne asada with eggs hatched from chicken-shaped piñatas.
Start your tour of Texican's massive menu by slinging your jaw around spinach, mushroom, and onion quesadillas ($7.99) or clearing your taste buds of impurities with spicy cream-cheese-stuffed jalapenos ($5.49). The plentiful options let you supplicate at the altar of a traditional dish such as cabrito—a platter of tender goat roasted with mysterious spices and topped with tomato and bell pepper ($14.99)—or head straight for the grill with a 10 oz. rib-eye steak tampiqueña ($14.99). To enter the mythical realm of "New Mexico," head northwest of south of the border for some Santa Fe enchiladas in smoky red chile ($9.49), or fly straight up into space instead with a deadly delicious chile relleno plump with chicken, beef, shrimp, or cheese and legally drowned in red tomatillo sauce ($8.99).
When he immigrated to America, Jesse Berenji took a job in the kitchen at a family member's Mexican restaurant. By keeping a close eye on all aspects of the business, he was soon able to pioneer his own Mexican place—El Patron Restaurant & Cantina. The cooks here fry hand-breaded boneless-chicken breast drizzled with cilantro sauce, for example, and prepare El Patron fajitas—chicken and beef with sautéed veggies on a heated platter, served with homemade tortillas for creating edible Venn diagrams. The menu even touches on American classics such as burgers and chicken tenders.
Mariscos Tampico canters headlong toward authenticity pairing soccer games and Mexican soap operas with bubbling pots of siete mares seafood soup. Chefs bustle about amidst simmering stove-tops and fiery grills, folding fresh fish, shrimp, and crab into a sweeping variety of Mexican specialties—from spicy vuelve a la vida cocktails to tender pescado ranchero. They shuck chilled oysters to serve with tart wedges of lime, and load crisp tostadas with ceviche, a dish lauded by reporters from Austin Chronicle. In addition to the myriad seafood specialties, chefs turn their culinary attention to a variety of other traditional Mexican favorites, including chile rellenos, tequila steak, and chicken tacos.
The atmosphere is just as lively out in the dining room. Flat screen TVs pipe in UFC bouts, boxing matches, and telenovelas about ice-road truckers finding the strength to love again, all while friends clink glasses of spicy beer micheladas. At night, bright lights dance across the room, casting a colorful glow on whimsical plastic palm trees and thatched tiki awnings. To amp up the interactivity of the festivities, an expansive stage in front of the room hosts the eatery's regular karaoke nights.