Monday, April 19, 2010

Antonio's. Is it the Best?

Regular Joe's Guide, a good and detailed, local restaurant-review weblog, recently posted its favorite Mexican restaurants in the area. The number one favorite, of both the author and his wife was Antonio's near the NorthEast Mall. Last Saturday night my wife and I went to try it out.

I agree with RJG that Antonio's is not your average Tex-Mex restaurant, it is a quality and more traditional Mexican fare, freshly prepared. And it is very good. The chips are made fresh and served hot. My entree, camarones wrapped in bacon and topped with an avocado sauce, was perfection. The mixed vegetables served with the shrimp were freshly cooked and slightly crispy, just the way I like them. The avocado sauce for the shrimp was very nicely done. My wife had an enchilada plate and it, too, was very good.

Would I give it the same high praise as RJG?

The salsa for my taste was a little weak. I prefer an almost pico de gallo hot sauce with a little more bite. But salsas are very much a personal thing. Also, I was disappointed that they weren't busier. I think they had four two-top tables filled. I can't blame them for this, and we were eating early for a Saturday night, but the buzz was low.

In order for me to call them "numero uno" I would need two things. First, a location with a better atmosphere on the outside. The restaurant is tastefully decorated in the modern minimalist kind of way, on the inside, but I think the food quality demands a little nicer location for diners. It is a casual but dining atmosphere and the restaurant being crowded into a strip shopping center nearly underneath the 820/121 cloverleaf doesn't draw me back. We like to walk, or window shop, and grab some coffee or ice cream after dinner. Secondly, I think the salsa is weak. It's mild, tomato saucy, and without much vegetable texture.

Maybe I'm being picky. The service is excellent.  It is priced as you would expect. We were at $29.00 for two, no alcohol, without tip. Comparable to Mi Cocino, Cantina Laredo and Pappasito's. Are they good enough to draw us away from downtown Fort Worth dining? I don't think so. I do know that I could eat at Antonios everyday -- if they moved downtown.

My thanks to Regular Joe's Guide for the suggestion.


RJG said...

Excellent review Francis!

Interesting on the salsa, as ours did have some bite. Not killer mind you (which is how the RJG really likes it), but a nice little kick. But it's definitely a "thin salsa", with some small chunks of onion, tomato, etc... To be honest, for some reason I hadn't asked if they have a hotter salsa, which I usually do.

I hadn't really thought about the post dinner experience, but you're absolutely right, Antonio's would be terrible for that. I'm not too keen on the location either. But again, that's generally the case with suburbia verse urbania. As I was rifling through my favorite Mexican restaurants in my head, I think most of them sit either isolated or in strip malls. One exception, of course, is Mi Cocina in the Southlake Town Square. Of course, after leaving Antonio's, you could've taken a right and been at NE Mall in 2 minutes. But that's a nightmare for me. LOL.

A couple of more happening Mexican restaurants up this way are Anamia's (Southlake) and El Paseo (Keller). And both are very good IMO.

That's too bad about Antonio's not being crowded. It's a place we haven't been to dinner for a long time. It used to be more crowded. Maybe it was just an off night for the crowds. Hope so anyway.

Thanks for trying it and glad you enjoyed the food!

Have you been to the Fernandez Cafe on Vickery? I recommend it for lunch. It's old school hole in the wall Tex-Mex. And probably our favorite in DFW.


Francis Shivone said...

RJG -- Never been to Fernandez but have seen it, thanks.

As far as the crowd at Antonio's goes, it was raining that night and they seemed to be expecting more diners because the waitstaff was there in force.

I'll take a hot branding over a mall visit any day.

But the shrimp at Antonio's was really, really good.

Thanks for the comment.