Tuesday, January 24, 2012

*** CLOSED *** Chencho's ~ North Richland Hills, Texas

Chencho's sits in a former Italian restaurant location that was a 3 time loser. (now a 4 time loser apparently, as Chencho's is now closed. A home cooking restaurant will be the 5th to make a go at this spot!) This location originally housed a Ferrari's, a place that had more notoriety via the news than it did amongst diners (never a good sign). We never sampled the place ourselves. This was followed by the Bella Cafe. Mrs. RJG and I dined there a couple of times. It was decent, but very typical of the Italian food found in NE Tarrant. And finally Mia Cafe went up and was well on its way to closure, when the final owner wised up and said "You know what? Maybe this isn't a good location for an Italian restaurant." Ya think? So he wisely found another partner, from nearby Alvarado's in fact, and launched a Mexican restaurant. I'm usually hesitant to be "first" to try a restaurant, but we were in the area, and said why not? We added it to Urbanspoon, and it still hasn't garned much attention to date. But it should - it's definitely worth a try. Looks like someone matched our positive with a negative. Who's right? You tell us.

Chencho's is not just a typical Tex-Mex place with warmed over enchiladas and soggy tacos. It's really somewhere between a taqueria, Tex-Mex and a New Mexican place. And I'm not going to tell you this is a Santa Fe styled restaurant - because it is absolutely not - but they do have delicacies typically only found on our Western frontier. They offer adobada as well as green chile sauces, which are more associated with New Mexico or Colorado. And they have rolled tacos, which of course are more southern Californian. Chencho's has a wide range of dishes to choose from, and we actually ventured only to Tex-Mex just to ensure a certain standard, before trying any of the New Mexican or tacqueria options. And they did a great job on the tacos y enchiladas - both in the texture and taste of the meat, as well as the spicy salsa they poured on top. I opted for grilled chicken, and it was delicious - and not something many places are willing to stuff your enchilada with - for the same prices as shredded chicken. Rice and beans were good as well.

The chips were standard but the salsas were not. BOTH salsas that came out were on the spicy side, which endeared Chencho's to us right away, and did not require me to ask for a hotter option. And they tasted like no other sauce I've ever had. Unique chile salsas with a kick are going to score points with the RJG.

As of last week, they stated to us they were going to start serving free beer and margaritas. For those that know the Texas law, if you don't have a liquor license, then you can't sell alcohol, but there's nothing to stop them from giving it away. I don't know if they implemented that yet or not, so don't hold me to it. I suspect they are working on a license in the meantime.

Caution here: We've only been once and we liked it. There aren't any reviews to corroborate ours, so you'll be pioneering like we did. But based on our one visit - I think it's worth a shot. The decor is very humble, so this isn't exactly a night on the town kind of place. But for local grub, it's very good and we're likely to try it a few more times in the near future.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chencho's is great! There are very few authentic Mexican retaurants in the DFW area that use QUALITY ingredients. I have tried the carne asada street tacos and was very pleased. I'm VERY picky about meat so that is really saying something. I have also requested a avocado veggie torta (which is not on the menu) and it is so good. My husband loves thier menudo and several other things that he has tried.

We were a bit hesitant to try it. As a matter of fact we almost walked out when we saw the half painted ex-Italian inside of the place but I'm really glad we stayed. Advise to the owners... lose the AM Mexican radio station. It's annoying.

Overall... GREAT food at an AMAZING price!

RJG said...

Hi Mrs. Anon - I completely agree with your assessment. That's funny about the Italian restaurant comments. We were a bit reticent ourselves. We haven't been back, but we will soon. Love their salsas. I want to try their New Mexican offerings next time.

Also agree about the AM radio. So annoying!

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

This was by far the WORST food I have ever had!! The chips were so chewy we could not even tear them. There were 5 of us and only 1 thought the food was "ok". I cant imagine ever being hungry enough to ever return. Do not waste your money!!