Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fresco's Cocina ~ Watauga, Texas

First published December 27, 2008 and updated with a recent visit

We've been going to Fresco's for many years, and it consistently rates for us among the best of the Mexican restaurants in NE Tarrant.

Food: There are a few things that make Fresco's special, and worth the journey to Watauga. Foremost is their trio of sauces that you can request to supplement the regular salsa that comes out with the chips. Actually, even if you didn't know about the trio, the primary sauce is a medium heat level chipotle concoction that is unique and quite excellent. Amongst the trio, they offer a fiery chile de arbol, a honey jalapeno, and a blazing hot habanero. They added the latter in the last few years, and it replaced their tomato based mild sauce. Apparently everyone liked the hotter alternative. Just like the RJG! And while the chile de arbol made us happy enough, the habanero clinches the deal. This may be the hottest salsa I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant - at least of those that weren't custom designed for me by a sadistic, angry chef. The flavors for everything I tasted later on were flying everywhere - and my senses were alive. As for the chips that we are using to dip into these sauces, I would prefer a more hearty and homemade corn chip. These are of the thin "Chili's" variety, and appear to be bought off the food truck. The sauces are thick (especially the honey jalapeno), and tend to break easily, so I think this would be an easy improvement for them. Another aspect of Fresco's that we both enjoy is the high quality of the enchiladas. Their sauces are uniquely flavored, and aren't run of the mill tasting. And while I have no delusions that each enchilada platter is homemade, I will say that they are exquisitely prepared each time, and they're always ready for the large crowds they seem to get. The fajita meat enchiladas, in particular are quite good, with tender beef and chicken layered on top of the delicious cheese and onion enchilada. The rice and beans are both superb as well, and expertly prepared. And nothing better than that first forkful of hot beans while your mouth is still on fire from the habanero... We've tried many things on the Fresco's menu over the years, and they are all uniformly great, but the enchiladas remain our favorite.

Drink: This used to be their signature line, but they really do have great margaritas. Perhaps a bit sweeter than I typically prefer, but still flavorful and they consistently pack a punch. As I've said many times before, us citizens of DFW are spoiled when it comes to frozen margaritas. Travel anywhere else in the US, and the adult slurpee is almost always a disappointment. We just experienced that disappointment again while in Santa Fe, as you all may have read.

Location: Fresco's sits comfortably on US 377, just south of Starnes, next to the Krispy Kreme. It's a large spacious restaurant, that gets especially crowded on weekend nights. We typically go here for lunch.

Notes: If you didn't know any better, you could be forgiven for thinking Fresco's is a national chain. They have the corporate signage, a rather large restaurant in a prime location, with consistently huge crowds on the weekends. But it's a locally owned small chain (by an industry veteran), and this location is the flagship. They later opened in Burleson, and even more recently in Highland Village. When we first visited Fresco's, sometime after we first moved here in 2003, they were some sort of a hybrid between a quick service restaurant and a full service establishment. To say it was a confusing concept would be an understatement. We never knew what we were supposed to do. Order up front, but they would bring you the food. You were on your own for the chips and salsa, but they got you the drink. In a nutshell, it was a mess. Fortunately they changed their strategy, and we've been regulars ever since! Note that they are closed on Monday.

Rating: 4.5. Consistently outstanding for over 10 years!




Hours: Mon: CLOSED; Tue - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm; Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm; Sun: 11:30 am - 8:30 pm

Fresco's Cocina Mexicana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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