Last visit: September 2013
Other DFW locations: Arlington, Lewisville, Plano (2), Ft. Worth
Other Texas locations: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, College Station, Midland
Also in 14 other states
We first visited Abuelo's in the summer of 2004, but for whatever reason Mrs. RJG didn't care for it, and we didn't return for a half-dozen years. Then one day last year we were talking with our neighbors about Mexican food, and they said their favorite place was Abuelo's. I figured that may be because they're hardcore West Texas folks and the chain is based in Lubbock. But we gave it one more try shortly thereafter... and we've been going back ever since. In fact, I'd say the consensus at the RJG household is that Abuelo's has moved into the #2 spot behind Anamia's for the Mexican restaurant crown in NE Tarrant. Pretty amazing for a national chain!
The first thing you notice about Abuelo's is how stunning the restaurant looks - on the inside and out. It's like a Mexican vacation resort. Generally that's a red flag for the RJG. When the money is put into the decor, we fear that's at the expense of the food budget. But that's definitely not the case at Abuelo's. And in fact, Abuelo's offers some pretty unique items that one may only find in a dive. For one they may have the best habanero salsa I've ever had. It's a blazer, but extremely tasty, with that fire roasted chile taste (I just got that feeling in my tongue - I feel like going there right now!). They also have a chipotle medium hot and a tomato based mild. Both are very good, but do not compare to the habanero. Funny that they serve it in a tiny little tin with the other two other salsas in larger bowls. But I'm sure most folks would rather only have a taste. But not the RJG - he asks for a BUCKET of it. And the chips are tasty enough without salsa. The Tex-Mex dishes here are a mix of staples and more authentic Mexican (for example, you can get fried eggs on the enchiladas, that sort of thing). I liked their baked overstuffed burritos, loaded with melted cheese, tasty con carne and whatever meat filling I'd like. Mrs. RJG says their crunchy tacos are the best! Oddly enough, I haven't got that far down the menu yet... Rice and beans are delicious and beyond the norm.
Abuelo's has a full bar, and their margaritas (frozen & au natural) pack a punch.
This is a good place to take guests, or business associates. Though for the many times we've been, it's just been the wife and I. Overall a great Mexican restaurant.
Urbanspoon lists the restaurant as Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy, but it doesn't appear they still use that tag.