So the Cantina had it's first birthday in December, 2011 and is looking forward to the next. This may not seem like much of an accomplishment until you know that there are nearly 40 other Mexican Restaurants in The Woodlands area all trying to attract your dining dollars. With all of that competition, all of these different venues need to have their respective sombreros on straight with just the right tilt in order to remain in business. And so we continue with the progress of Cantina de Tejas in Shenandoah.
December brings about some changes to both the hours and menu at the Tex-Mex restaurant in Shenandoah. They have expanded their business hours to include breakfast beginning at 7:00 AM daily. Their current menu doesn't specify what time breakfast stops but, it is scheduled to be served all day Tuesday - Friday, a strange schedule to say the least.
Our meal this evening began with the standard chips, warm salsa, refried beans, and some rather thin queso that simply tasted of American cheese. The salsa was chunky and had the perfect amount of spiciness but was a little watery which makes eating with the fresh chips a bit of a balancing act. We still don't quite understand the serving of refried beans with the salsa - like many of you, we are more accustomed to having a green sauce along with the red. Maybe they are trying to be different, or maybe it's a simple case of mathematics where the cost of beans is less than the cost of avocados.
The Sunset Grille Fajitas & Camaron - Sizzling beef and chicken fajitas, two jumbo bacon wrapped Cantina style shrimp on a bed of grilled onions, served with homemade tortillas. Overall, very good when it came to flavor but the two shrimp were something less than what I would expect to be considered "jumbo". The steak fajita was moist and tender with an adequate amount of seasoning as were the chicken fajita strips. The rice was cooked well and was a great addition to the hand made tacos wrapped in home made corn tortillas. We are glad to have found yet another Mexican restaurant in the area not afraid to make their own corn tortillas. Several area restaurants serve up thin, mass produced corn tortillas that fall apart long before you can get the first bite of fajita taco.
She ordered a build your own combination plate with a soft (ground) beef taco, cheese enchilada, and chicken tamale. I have a tendency to not like tamales; so I have a tendancy to give them a try every now and again and see if it's just me. Now that I've tried the chicken tamale at Cantina de Tejas, I've decided, no, it was just me. Apparently really good tamales do exist, and they exist at Cantina de Tejas. The cheese enchilada was about what one would expect from nearly any Tex-Mex restaurant around here; a little spicy, not too onion-y, and really cheesy. I was really enjoying the soft taco until I bit into a chunk of hamburger that was clearly undercooked. Based on my own cooking of taco meat, I know this is an easy mistake to make if you happen to leave some of the burger in larger chunks. But I'm not running a restaurant. The manager was quick to replace the taco, however, and brought an interesting substitute.
The replacement taco was also served on a soft flour tortilla, however it contained a few strips of fajita beef, some grilled onions, avocado slices, cilantro and lime juice. With the exception of the avocado, it was essentially a taco al carbon, and it was certainly tasty. The tender beef and blend of seasonings and flavors made me all but forget about that hamburger incident.
When it came to dessert we were both stuffed, but we couldn't resist a taste of the Carrot cake and Italian Chocolate cake. The dessert items are still all made in house and yes, you should definitely save room for your favorite after dinner dessert item.
Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don't have to take our word for it - give them a try for yourself and decide! Maybe we will see you there as we plan to return for more.
Cantina De Tejas closed December 31, 2011Casa Medina opened in the same location in March, 2012.