Last visit: February 2014
July 2013 update: As mentioned below, Mr. RJG loves their puffed tacos. And their chips and salsa will always be an excellent choice I suspect. Worth noting that Esparza's now features brunch on the weekends.
We recently mentioned that Miguelito's was one of our go-to places from 2004-2005. But our very first regular Mexican food fix in NE Tarrant was Esparza's. An old Dallas neighborhood buddy first recommended the place to us, and it was an instant hit at the RJG household. From 2003 to 2004, I'd say we went here more than any other Mexican place. But, as with Miguelito's, the Mrs. began to sour on the place for a variety of reasons. That left Mr. RJG going solo, or with neighborhood friends, on a very infrequent basis. But now the Mrs. wanted to go for another try at the behest of moi.
Now it's interesting in reading the various other reviews out there about Esparza's. The consensus is, if I'm allowed to interpret, that Esparza's has a great bar scene, with excellent margaritas - and mediocre food. The RJG disagrees with this assessment, at least the food part that is. What Esparza's excels at is good old fashioned cheap Tex-Mex. You start dabbling in the fancy, and you're in unchartered waters as far as we're concerned.
And that's exactly what we did on our last visit - try other dishes. I went with the "spicy" green enchiladas. One has to wonder why on Earth the word spicy even crossed their minds. Mine was a very bland dish, with little taste at all. The rice and beans didn't exactly propel the platter to enormous heights either. Meanwhile the wife tried the chile relleno. Guess what? It was great! She loved their unique take on the classic dish - with loads of unique vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, onions, raisins and nuts), cheese and ranchero sauce. And the charro beans were delicious with plenty of that yummy bacon flavor. So Mrs. RJG found her dish! Which means we may be going back again on a regular basis. So what will I get? Oh, I know better now - Tex-Mex! I love their puffed tacos, with a wonderfully seasoned ground beef. And doused with their trademark excellent hot sauce, that comes out with the warm crispy chips. The salsa itself is a pureed delight, with a nice kick to it (sadly missing in their green sauce).
Esparza's features an awesome former-home setting, tucked away in the back streets of old town Grapevine. The open patio guarantees a lively party scene - and the full sports bar in the back seals the deal.
Oh, and yes, for a place that calls itself the "Margarita Capital of Texas", they do a mighty fine job backing that claim up!
Definitely a must try for the Regular Joe crowd out there.