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[Big D] Why I love the (quasi) original Herrera's

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[Big D] Why I love the (quasi) original Herrera's

Tha Groovin' Gourmet | May 7, 2006 11:40 PM

Many naysayers have accused me of being overly sentimental about this place, and perhaps they are a little bit right, but in my book it still totally rocks.

The place has aged nicely into the kind of dump that is befitting of the cuisine. TexMex is not froufrou, and I don't care for any upscale place that serves it. It is a low-rent, indigenous peasant cuisine, and to doll up the surroundings is a waste of money in my book.

We arrived about 2:30 on a cool overcast Sunday afternoon. We chose a booth, and the busboy arrived almost instantly with chips and salsa. The chips were thin, warm and wonderful and the salsa is still my favorite anywhere...excellent heat level (both the wife and I had slight coughing fits after first bites), excellent flavor, nice coolness that teases you into eating more and more, barely assuaging the building heat index. My forehead beaded sweat just like it has for the 30+ years I've been eating there.

I opened my menu, and immediately closed it, opening it again after ordering to see what new additions have been added. I order the Jimmy's Special 99.99% of the time and this day would be no exception.

We started with a half-order of Crazy Nachos, and were oohing, aahing and mmmming from the first bite. I almost got a little teary it felt so good to be "home".

Herrera's was the originator (at least in Dallas) of insanely piled up nachos. Unlike most places that dump a bunch of mishmoshed crap over a pile of chips, these delights are individually crafted with a layering of beans, chicken, taco beef, sour cream and guac, before being blanketed with perfectly gooey cheddar and a mess of sliced, pickled jalapeños on the side. A fabulous start to our meal.

The Jimmy's is a groaning plate of food...cheese enchilada with chili gravy, chicken enchilada in spanish sauce, soft cheese taco (corn tortilla rolled into a tube around some cheese, smothered in chili con queso), a beef taco (ordered sans lettuce which is my preference), a tostada chip smeared with a dollop of guac, and the piece de la resistance (sorry for the mixed language...anyone know the Mex equivalent?), the combo burrito...a thick flour tortilla, folded in half, stuffed with rice, beans and absolutely awesome guiso de res (Mex pot roast).

The lovely Denise has no sentimental issues whatsoever, and didn't even like the place on her first visit. But she started asking about our impending visit while we were still on our cruise to Vancouver. I trust her judgment and palate implicitly, so her newfound devotion to the place should carry some weight with the curious. She totally revelled in her 2B Combination of 2 cheese enchiladas, beef taco (also sin lechuga) sided with excellent rice and beans.

Was it a bit greasy? Sure...I wouldn't enjoy it if it wasn't.

Were the enchiladas the best in the universe? Probably not, but the sum is much greater than the parts.

I like my TexMex down and dirty, and this is still my favorite place to enjoy it. Give it a shot, it just might become yours too.

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