Food Fight: Beef Steak Nachos

Categories: Food Fight

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Kevin Shalin
Teotihuacan
For this week's Food Fight, we pit two Houston Tex-Mex heavyweights against one another. We've got El Real Tex-Mex Cafe, the young, scrappy newcomer, against Teotihuacan Mexican Café (4624 Irvington), the cagey veteran. Will youth overpower age, or will the consistency of a Houston institution take down the rookie? We shall see.

Teotihuacan Mexican Café
I've long considered Teo's beef steak nachos to be the best in the city, but it had been a good year since my last experience, so I was eager to see if consistency was still their game. That question was answered with one bite -- Teo's still serves damn good nachos. Meticulously constructed, these aren't your typical "dump a bunch of toppings on a pile of chips" nachos. Each thick chip is slathered with a thin layer of refried beans and topped with chunks of beef and shreds of cheddar cheese. All your standard accompanying ingredients are there (sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa). I polished off my small order in about ten minutes. This proved to be an easy task. Everything together on one chip was Tex-Mex heaven, but make no mistake, the well-seasoned, tender, and generously portioned beef is what separates these nachos from the steep Houston competition.

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Kevin Shalin
El Real
El Real Tex-Mex Café
El Real's nachos were also individually constructed chips, topped with creamy refried beans, cheese and beef steak. Surprisingly, the freshness of the lettuce and tomatoes really stood out. These two things usually get lost in the nacho equation, often overshadowed by the other, sexier ingredients. There was something else that really stood out about these nachos -- the beef! It was as tender as you could imagine. I never once struggled with a bite. That's the good news. The bad news -- there wasn't enough of it, and the meat's seasoning just didn't stand out. I'm getting picky here, because this slight misstep did not prevent me from polishing off my fair share. El Real's overall product was better than 95 percent of Houston nachos, and given the newness of the restaurant, very impressive.

The winner
Teo's. This was extremely close, with both versions representing elite taste. Teo's beef just stood out. It wasn't quite as tender as El Real's, but it was more plentiful and just had a better overall flavor. I see a potential rematch in the future for these two restaurants. That's a fight I could get used to.



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Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

1511 Airline, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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21 comments
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maria
maria

Y si  es muy buen Restaurant, a mi me encanta la Tortilla Soup y las enchiladas de Espinacas, y sobre todo la atencion de los meseros(as) muy amables, Gracias  por atendernos  y aguantarnos a los clientes exijentes, FELICIDADES.!!!!

Tom Emanski
Tom Emanski

ERRONEOUS! ERRONEOUS! Everyone is entitled to their opinion on all matters except this one. La Hacienda's beef fajita nachos are one giant plate of WIN covered in queso. Roy Oswalt approves this message.

CL91
CL91

I didn't have to read any of the words to know which would be better; the pictures alone showed the clear victor.

Caswell has one hell of a publicist. As in, of epic proportions. His restaurants are practically the only ones written about outside of smallish local blogs and the HP.

Feldman
Feldman

Teotihuacan has the THE BEST regular grilled shrimp in the city. They are fan-fucking-tastic.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

I had those nachos last week at El Real and to me they were absolute perfection. I'm one of the few around here that just doesn't care for Teo's.

Jlo
Jlo

Can't beat the fajita nachos at Lopez.

Augustus
Augustus

El Real is very good unless of course you have some kind af agenda...

Stephen
Stephen

I guess I don't know what about the greasy and chewy puffy tacos, or the bland and undercooked rice, or the overly sweet, metallic-tasting margaritas, etc qualifies as "very good."

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

You're just way off base. I'm the most critical food guy there is. I even let my mom know when the food sucks. I'm like Cartman. I've shared before that I don't like the way the nachos are served at El Real. If you're going to serve me authentic nachos, I want it to be everything and the kitchen sink piled on top. But this restaurant still has the best cheese enchiladas, tamales, and refried beans in the city. You obviously ordered poorly on your one visit there...

ec
ec

That salty Wolf Brand Chili on top ruins everything they put it on. Mediocrity rules at El Real.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Fatty, you can't have it both ways. You can either have your nachos authentic, or kitchen sink style, but not both. But who cares about authenticity? Surely taste is more important.

kylejack
kylejack

Don't be so sure. I've had the exact same dish excellent one time and mediocre the other at El Real. It's a huge restaurant with a lot of seats and it probably takes time to iron out inconsistent product.

The Finkelstein Kid
The Finkelstein Kid

Those do not look like the El Real Beef Nachos I had a couple of weeks ago. I think Caswell and Co. need to re-train the crew. I'm seeing a lack of consistency from the El Real kitchen.

Stephen
Stephen

EOW really needs to stop writing about El Real. Its just not good. Period. The non-stop publicity is decidedly unwarranted.

Craig
Craig

It's the new Beavers, baby.

SirRon
SirRon

Stephen, if you suggest something that is better, Kevin will eat it and write about it. That dude is insane crazy.

Bruce R
Bruce R

El Real gets far more ink from the peanut gallery than the writers at EOW. I thought Kevin gave a pretty objective account of his take on their nachos. He thinks they're pretty darn good. I would argue that EOW is not being overly praiseworthy, but rather that the commenters are being overly critical.

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