Over the weekend, I had a chance to eat at a restaurant I'd driven by many times in the past while on the way to other restaurants. Teotihuacan, on Airline near the Canino Farmer's Market, is serving up some pretty good food. Let's start with their salsas:
The standard salsa service includes a smoky red sauce and a creamy green sauce, both were excellent. The red sauce clearly had chipotle peppers, the smoky taste was unmistakable.
For entrees, I had the "house specialty" carnitas, for $9.99 and they were ok, not great, but ok. The carnitas, three sliced of pork loin, came served on one of those fajita sizzler plates with avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream, rice, beans, tomatillo sauce, grilled onions, and tortillas. The problem was that they were rather dry, I think they had been broiled or grilled with a little too much enthusiasm. They weren't so bad that I sent them back or didn't enjoy them, but they certainly needed a generous helping of the tomatillo sauce that accompanied them in order to add some moistness. I think this dish would be better if the pork was simmered in the tomatillo sauce and served in a little crockery.
This dish reinforces my already very-high-opinion of my own carnitas recipe, which yields meat that is both juicy and crispy, the very definition of carnita excellence!
So far as restaurant carnitas, I have to say that I still suggest Spanish Flowers, also on Airline, if you're in the area and looking for carnitas.
After thinking about it for a couple of days, I've decided that I'm not a huge fan of Teotihuacan's beans. Again, they weren't terrible or inedible or even bad, they just weren't my favorite. The beans were very tomato-ey, so that it was more like eating tomato soup with beans rather than eating beans with some tomato in them.
Overall this was a large and satisfying dish. I was only able to eat about half my pork, so I was able to take the rest of it home along with some beans and onions to make little sandwiches out of bollilos for dinner. These were delicious.
My dining companions (my parents!) both got shrimp dishes for $12.99, and they looked basically the same so I only took a picture of one of them. The dishes were so similar in fact that my folks actually got their orders mixed up, with Dad getting Mom's order of Caliente Shrimp (that's what they call it on the menu). I am still a little foggy on what the differences were supposed to be between the two shrimp dishes that we ordered. I think it comes down to one of them having bacon-wrapped shrimp and the other having cheese. Both dishes came with rice, beans, pico, guacamole, and tortillas.
Teotihuacan's guacamole is sort of odd. It seems to consist of only avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. I am more accustomed to eating guacamole with all of that in addition to a little tomato, onion, and jalapeno. I'm not sure if this method of preparation is a regional Mexican thing or just "the way they do things at Teotihuacan." It was good, but different.
Mom said that what this dish really needed was a piece of crusty bread with which to sop up all the ranchero sauce; she made due with a spoon. She said it was delicious, so take note that you may want to stop at the panaderia a few blocks up the street and pick up some bolillos before stopping by Teotihuacan.
So, let's summarize. Teotihuacan serves an excellent selection of salsas. They make their tortillas, both corn and flour, in-house. They have large portion sized and their food is well presented. Their carnitas are not the best, but they are servicable and they bring you plenty of them for ten dollars. Their beans and guacamole are notably different from any that I'd eaten before and while not necessarily a personal favorite, were certainly well executed. Service was prompt and friendly. The dining room was very similar to any of a number of other dining rooms I'd seen in moderately priced Mexican restaurants. I really got a Taqueria la Tapatia vibe from the place, if that gives you an idea of what to expect.
Despite giving them a ding for the dry carnitas, and the odd bean and guacamole preparations, I liked this placed and hope to try a few more of their dishes out in the future.
Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe
HOUSTON, TX, 77009
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