Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pappasito's Cantina, Mexican, Texas chain

Last visit: November 2011 (Dallas)

First time listing in the RJG

NE Tarrant locations: none
Tarrant locations: Arlington, Ft. Worth
Texas locations: Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio (and one in Marietta, GA)

Pappasito's, as many of you probably know, is part of the much larger Houston-based Pappas group of restaurants, and most known for its flagship Cajun-styled Pappadeaux's. Beyond those two, they also own Pappas Burger, Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappas Bros Steakhouse, Pappas Seafood House, Dot Coffee Shop, and Yia Yia Mary's Pappas Greek Kitchen. Many times you will see these restaurants clumped together, as is the case with the Pappasito's we visited on Lombardy and Northwest Hwy in Dallas. A few of these concepts are only found in Houston.

This particular Pappasito's is inside an ample "restaurant row" area, situated between Loop 12 and I-35E, and serves the Stemmons Freeway business sector. Plenty of hotels and office buildings are nearby guaranteeing a non-stop lunch and dinner crowd. And to the west of Loop 12 is the seedier side of the entertainment industry with plenty of strip clubs, massage parlors, pool halls and liquor stores. Makes for a colorful drive if coming from NE Tarrant along Northwest Hwy (exiting from TX-114).

So why are we here anyway? Well, the RJG mentioned that I Fratelli's is where we tend to meet our business partners and vendors. Those get-togethers tend to be more intimate settings with rarely more than 4 at a table. But what about when we have our employees in town (they're consultants) visiting clients? Sometimes we'll have over 10 folks. Well, for that, we've begun to settle on Pappasito's. It's still half-way for us logistically and it's roomier, more festive, and they serve a mean margarita. Works for me!

There aren't too many surprises at Pappasito's. But it's definitely a cut above "big chain" food. They're mainly a Tex-Mex shop, and for that they're reliable, if not necessarily newsworthy. I've tried a couple of other "upscale Mexican" dishes here, and once again they were good. But it didn't make me forget about Oscar's (Haltom City - review coming one of these days) either.

The one area where Pappasito's really does shine, however, is where you might least expect it. And that's in the hot sauce for the chips. The chips themselves are typical, pretty similar to what you'd get at Chili's. And the sauce they serve you is also standard - a chipotle based recipe that is delicious, but somewhat typical. You know the RJG right? You guys have a hotter one? I honestly thought the answer would be no. I mean, you don't come to Pappasito's looking for a hole-in-the-wall experience. You're there for good times, drinks, sports and laughter - and some bar food to go with it. But he said "yes". But I figured they'd cut up a couple of jalapeno's and throw it on top or something (we've all witnessed this before). Wrong again. Out came this blended sauce with habanero's mixed in! It was outstanding. Brilliant in fact. I don't know if that's standard at Pappasito's or I just got lucky - but that sauce is a MUST! Of course I was the only one of our party (this time we had 6) who could eat it - so maybe not for everyone. But I was happy anyway...

Good Mexican place to go for a group.

Website

Pappasito's Cantina on Urbanspoon

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