For as diverse as a city as Houston, TX, with its citizens both locally born and from the four corners of the United States and beyond, there is little consensus on which restaurants serves the best Tex-Mex food. There are few topics of discussions that will generate more passionate responses from people. What is most amazing is that there are those, including myself that will say that their favorite restaurant is the best and yet have tried very few other Tex-Mex restaurants.
Ninfa’s, Chuy’s and Pappasito’s are a few of the more popular Tex-Mex restaurants, but for me I go to the equally popular Lupe Tortilla. I was first introduced to Lupe Tortilla’s by my father who would to go to the original Lupe’s for lunch when he was in Houston for business. Lupe’s is one of those restaurants that know how to poke fun at itself while serving consistently good food each and every time at all of their locations with little to no variation. The menu is varied, but not so extensive making it impossible to choose a dish.
Before Lupe Tortilla’s opened additional locations (Houston, Austin, College Station and San Antonio), the waiting time to be seated at the original location was infamously long. Patrons would arrive before the restaurant opened to position themselves high on the seating list. Although the waiting time has been reduced, the one thing that has not changed is that the restaurant is extremely child friendly. It is not unusual to see three generations of a family eating at Lupe Tortilla’s.
As with all Tex-Mex restaurants, the meal begins with your tortilla chips. At Lupe’s the chips are served with their fresh spicy version of salsa which thankfully more chunky then sauce. In addition to the salsa, a bowl of warm beans with chunks of smoked ham is also served which is my personal favorite. The margaritas are good and strong. I typically order one of two dishes at Lupe Tortilla’s. My perennial favorite is the Chicken Poblano; shredded chicken mixed with cheese and stuffed into a large Poblano pepper and then roasted on a open grill. The Steak Lupe, a marinated skirt steak (the same that is used for fajitas) is very good and is also topped with cheese.
In a city the size of Houston which has a long history of Tex-Mex cuisine, it is very difficult to go wrong with any Tex-Mex restaurant that you choose. If you are new to the city, briefly passing through or looking for a place to go with your family you will receive as many responses to your inquiry as people you ask. For me, the answer to your question is simple. Go to Lupe Tortilla.