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Don Luis: Good Chorizo con Huevo but Possible Downhill Slide on Other Dishes

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Don Luis: Good Chorizo con Huevo but Possible Downhill Slide on Other Dishes

MPH | Jun 25, 2007 04:43 PM

I checked out Don Luis over the weekend after a break of at least a month or so. Here’s a link to one of the other threads on this place:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369171

I couldn't help but notice that some of their best items, including the barbacoa, puerco en chile verde, and flour tortillas, were noticeably not as good as they had been on my last series of visits. Has anyone else noticed a downhill slide?

First, the good news. Their chorizo con huevo breakfast tacos (available at any time of the day) were very good. They're among the best I’ve had in Austin. They use lots of sausage, producing a filling that’s darkly speckled with chorizo. In fact, the tortilla itself turned orange as a result of all the sausage grease. To me, that’s a good sign. This taco is definitely worth checking out, in my opinion. The only reason that their chorizo con huevo is not on my all-time “best chorizo dishes” list is because (1) the chorizo still doesn’t taste amazing on its own, though theirs is better than a lot of versions served around here, and (2) the egg and chorizo were slightly overcooked. Just as it’s hard to get a perfectly scrambled egg at a restaurant, it’s hard to get perfectly cooked chorizo con huevo. Some places get it totally right. [My examples are in San Antonio: for example, Mendez Cafe and Garcia’s.] It seems odd that the ideal chorizo con huevo is so elusive. With regular grocery-store ingredients, this dish is quite easy to do right at home.

Similarly the potato-and-egg taco at Don Luis consisted of overcooked egg and tasteless cubes of fried potatoes. They failed to include the bacon that I’d added for an extra $.50. This taco needed a lot of salsa and salt to taste decent; ideally, it wouldn’t. It was my first try of their version of this taco, but I would be hesitant to order it again.

The items that seemed to have gone downhill were things that they’d previously done quite well. Their barbacoa is still greasy and made of cow’s cheeks, but it was totally flavorless, as though the beef were steamed in plain water, with nothing added to it. It didn’t even have salt. And the quality of meat they’re using doesn’t make superfluous the need for any added seasoning. The pork in green-chile sauce looked the same, but its green color wasn't due to the use of green chiles. This dish seemed to consist of cooked pork nuggets drenched in pureed canned tomatillos. Though the puerco en chile verde was never super-spicy at DL, this time it was completely mild, with no spice at all. Of my work colleagues who’d also tried the before- and after-versions, one thought it was different but still good. The rest of us really missed the past incarnations.

Their flour tortillas are still housemade, and still thin, transparent, and greasy. I appreciate their tortillas, but they are made from a pretty bland masa. Some salt would help, or a tastier kind of shortening. (I would recommend my all-time favorite: lard!) Their mashed—not really refried—plain, boiled, vegetarian beans and orange-colored but unseasoned rice remain unchanged, as do their salsas.

I wanted to share my most recent experience with fellow chowhounds who are on the hunt for the most-delicious versions of everything, but I really hope that I just visited Don Luis on an off day.

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