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El XX, or El Xuco Xicana, or the formerly named El Patio Midtown — how ever you would like to refer to this Tex-Mex place is okay by me as long as you refer to it as YUMMY!  El Xuco Xicana (pronoucned El “Chuco Chicana”) is the the revamped El Patio Midtown.   Truly, I think this is my new favorite Mexican food place in Houston.  Not only is the food divine; the food is at the heart of true Tejano cuisine. 

The atmosphere is true to old school Tex-Mex, with the exception that it is not dark nor dingy nor dirty (all adjectives that are actually okay with me when describing authentic Texas-Mexican joints).   This eatery is more upscale, while remaining traditional in interior design.

Inside El Xuco Xicana

The menu was a great surprise sticking true to old school classic Tex-Mex (really historically Tejano).  With the evolving culinary tastes these days (including such things at fish tacos, vegetarian fajitas, and spinach enchiladas), I absolutely loved seeing the limitation of the El XX Fajitas to beef (and shrimp — but they note that shrimp fajitas are not really fajitas afterall because “fajita” means belt, for skirt steak).   Love that!   In fact, the menu was fairly streamlined – simple and true to the history of the cuisine.

Our thoughts on the salsa: delish.  The Salsa, served warm (love that), contained a smokey flavor and a kick-you spiciness.    The Chili con Queso was Fantabulous (Grande $8).  Fire roasted serrano and poblano chiles, Chihuanhua and American Cheeses, and pico de gallo.  Yum.   The cheese was thick, rich, and flavorful.   Thick chunks and generous amounts of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  Outstanding.  It was truly — Outstanding.  And, let me mention their chips for a second — Perfection.   Super crispy, but not too thin, nor too thick.  Like the Three Bears — these chips were just right.    We are off to a great start (because the service was really great, too).

I started with the Nachos Panson (Chico $8; Grande $14).  Refritos, Chili con Queso, Chihuahua Cheese, Crema Mexicana (sour cream), guacamole — and your choice of escabeche (Mexican hot relish), carne desebrada (pulled, slow stewed beef shoulder) or chicken.  I went with the carne desebrada.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (and not an “m” less on that happy sigh).  These were the BEST Nachos I have ever eaten.  And, I have eaten ALOT of nachos.   Piled super high and packed with ingredients, the chips remained crispy, even under the weight of all the “stuff.”  The addition of the pulled beef shoulder was nothing short of Amazing, with a capital A.  How come I have not tasted this combination before!?  And the beef was cooked perfectly — Tender.  Flavorful.  Meaty.  Delicious.

Nachos Panso (or as I like to call them – The Best Nachos Ever)

Next up: Enchiladas Verdes ($14).  Corn tortillas layered with cheese, onions, grilled pollo Yucateco, con salsa verde topped with sunny side up egg, crema Mexicana, served with rice and beans (refried black).   Another great dish!   The chicken was tender.   The Salsa Verde was mellow, but great tomatillo flavor.   The onions were fabulous and cooked perfectly crisp-tender (we wanted more in the dish!).   The egg, of course, was a killer addition.   These enchiladas are particularly an old-school classic.  They were not the “rolled” tortilla kind that we have grown accustomed to — no these enchiladas are stacks of corn tortillas with the sauce, chicken, and onions between each layer.  Furthermore, the sunny side up egg is very old-school, traditional.  These enchiladas are the real deal. 

The refried beans were thick and had great flavor.  The rice was light and seemed to have less punch of flavor.  But, the more I think on this and compare to other more “authentic” Tex-Mex rices, I am beginning to think a light rice is more historically accurate of Tex-Mex.  And, if that is indeed true, this rice hit the nail on the head. 

Enchilada Verdes

I loved everything about El XX.  My only complaint was a “Taco al Carbon” that I ordered.  But, I take responsibility for this.  This item is not on their menu.  They accommodated my special request.  So, since this was a special item made just for me, I will not complain.  Everything else – from the atmosphere to the service to the margaritas to the michelada to the chips, Queso, nachos and enchilada were DIVINE.  I highly recommend El XX.  I am definitely going back!   Yum-o!

El Xuco Xicana
2416 Brazos
Houston, Texas 77006
713-523-8181
http://elxucoxicana.com/ Or
www.elpatio.com


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