Friday, June 17, 2016

Maria Cuca's ~ Keller, Texas

Maria Cuca's opened up a couple of years ago in Keller, and we've been infrequent visitors ever since (~6 to 7 times). To summarize, this is a place we so bad want to love... and we don't. We'll still go on occasion of course, but I'm afraid the food just doesn't measure up to others in the area, at least for our tastes.

Food: Up until the main course, Maria Cuca's is absolutely spot on. The chips are great. The salsas are great (they have more than just the table sauce, be sure to ask). Their famous homemade corn tortillas are great. And while we hardly ever talk about service, we have to say it's been uniformly excellent throughout, including the owner. And then comes the most important part: The entree. Sigh. We'll give Maria Cuca's this: They are entirely unique, and will not remind you of the other Mexican restaurants. That is definitely a plus, and something for you all to consider when reading this review. It's just that for what they do, we're not enthralled. And that goes for Mrs. RJG too. On our very first visit, I saw they have Chipotle Enchiladas. Right there, I thought I was set for life. It's not something you see often, and we always loved the ones at El Fenix. Way too sweet! They use some sort of crema in it. Ack! Oh look, they have "Pancho's Shrimp" - the bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp we so love. Flat and chewy. The crabmeat sauce is utterly disgusting. Sorry - it is. Carne Asada? Tough. Brisket tacos? Ehh. Old fashioned #1 Combo Tex-Mex plate? Boring. Verde sauce? Sour. Tacos? Dull. Mannnnnnn. Well, the rice and beans are good anyway. Not the best of course, but definitely flavorful. What do you do? I guess we'll just keep at it. We know there has to be something we'll love here. That's all it takes right? One dish. We really like these folks, and want them to succeed, but we have to be honest. Another reason to remain anonymous I suppose...

Drink: Remember this quote? "Up until the main course, Maria Cuca's is absolutely spot on". The frozen (and rocks) margaritas definitely assist in that assessment. A superb variation, and they give you one of those monster straws to penetrate the slushy ice. Just how I like them too - thick and freezing! They have a full bar for those who like more than beer and margaritas.

Location: Basically on the other end (south side) from Devivo Bros, along the set of strip malls that line US 377 between the railroad. This space originally housed Yourway Burgers, and later a Sharx Pub, which was basically a pool hall. Wrong town for that! They didn't have to do much with the interior, and I still see remnants of Yourway, including the nice looking bar area.

Rating: 3.5. They get this score because of their superb execution on everything but the main meal. We'll find something we love eventually. We know it. For the record, TripAdvisor ranks it #5 of all restaurants in Keller. All those people aren't wrong.

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TripAdvisor

Maria Cuca's Mexican Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe! Glad to hear you review this place because we felt the exact same way! I embrace someone offering unique recipes as long as its unique in a good way. I just couldn't ever leave and say, "Now that was good!".

I basically like old school Tex-Mex (think El Fenix). I've been eating at Mexican Inn since the 70's so I was thrilled when they opened in Keller. Our other "go to" place for Mexican is Kassandra's and occasionally El Paseo when we have guests and want that pretty patio setting.

My husband says we need more "American food" in our area. It seems we are inundated with Mexican, Italian, Asian, burgers and pizza. It would be refreshing to have a really good seafood place to mix things up. Zeke's would be heaven! But there I go again reverting back to places I ate in the 70's! I guess that proves I like the tried and true survivors. I doubt Maria Cuca's is that type of survivor! Have a good weekend and come back to tell us about another eating adventure. Leann

RJG said...

Hi Leann, Good to know we weren't the only ones who felt that way about Maria Cuca's. I know what you mean about American food. There used to be an excellent seafood place in that same strip called Clear Creek Seafood. We really enjoyed it, and I brought a neighborhood friend there who loved it as well. It closed just as I was starting this blog in 2008. I doubt it was open for more than a year. They had (have?) a restaurant in Decatur as well. I believe Main Street Cafe is there now. That's another place I need to write about. Need a fresh visit though.

Have you been to Bayou Jack's in Roanoke? We haven't been since they moved to the main street off the highway (where Thai Chili is), but we recall liking it quite a bit. But it's been awhile for sure. I have a blog entry for it, but it needs to be updated.

Anonymous said...

Yes! We love Bayou Jacks! We went before they moved and countless times since the move. Sometimes a move is a detriment but not in this case. It only got better. I love the outdoor seating, great atmosphere inside or out, very casual and the service is always spot on. We've tried quite a few dishes and have yet to be disappointed. I typically substitute salad for fries, etc. They have an upcharge but the salad is so large and fresh that it is not a problem for me at all. I love that they offer Happy Hour Daily, meaning Saturdays. So many places do not. I am not a fan of Dirty Balls but it seems I am in the minority. The pecan pie thought? I am totally on board with that! Give it a try on your next visit and you really should do yourself a favor and go back.

There are so many dining options in Roanoke now but two you rarely hear about are Italian Bistro on Byron Nelson. It is very unassuming from the outside. Inside it is dark, with table cloths and candles which is a nice touch but its still very casual. It is BYOB which we both love! I highly recommend the Chicken Genovese, in a cognac cream sauce that is to die for, excellent Caesar salad, and the usual offerings, the pizza is "eh" but you know how picky I am on that subject!

The other place is Thai Chili. They were in Southlake Town Center until the rent forced them to move. In fact, they are in Bayou Jack's old building, although I guarantee that you would not recognize it inside. It has a very Zen vibe with lovely music and white tablecloths. While it is not BYOB, the food is excellent with excellent service. You might consider it for something different. So that is my 2 cents worth on Roanoke! Leann

RJG said...

Yep - both Thai Chili (and we used to be regulars in Southlake - but long time ago 2003/04) and Italian Bistro have coverage in the blog. We definitely plan on returning to Bayou Jack's. Thanks for the rec on the pie! We actually ended up at Razzoo's (Alliance) this weekend, and believe it or not, we'd never been. We thought it was good too! Probably get a few words in about it soon. Thanks for the comments!