100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 41, Pollo con Mole at El Gallo de Jalisco

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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The best food is not the most expensive dish in a restaurant. It's not foie-topped or necessarily fancy at all. To me, the best food in the world is food that is evocative of another, fonder time. It's food that dislodges memories and knocks loose feelings long forgotten.

That's the kind of food you'll find at El Gallo de Jalisco, where a friend and I split a huge plate of tacos and a dish of pollo con mole for only $15 while she told me of how the mole itself tasted exactly like the stuff back home in Monterrey.

Silky and rich, with only a hint of cocoa, the mole at El Gallo is the complete opposite of the overwhelming moles that spark and dazzle with intricate blends of a thousand different roasted spices and dried chiles. This is village food, easy and comforting. The dark meat of the chicken soaks up the simple sauce easily, and a salty spread of refried beans across a hot tortilla is all the chicken and mole need to come together in harmony.

Mole is so often an acquired taste for people that there's an expression in Spanish akin to saying, "It's my cup of tea": en su mero mole. I didn't like mole the first few times I tried it, especially the strongly flavored mole poblano that's so common here. The soft, subtle mole at El Gallo de Jalisco is a perfect jumping-off point for anyone who's wary of mole or who's never had it before.

Of course, it's equally perfect for taking trips down memory lane, too. Just remember to bring cash -- no credit/debit cards are accepted here.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe

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Location Info

El Gallo De Jalisco

3220 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

you are 30ish. I am 55ish. you will not be including this in your top 100 in 20 years. In your dreams maybe.



For the love of God Katharine, get the Caldo de Res when it gets "cold" out. It still has the bone the meat fell off of in the broth.

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @JRT1 If I understand your comment correctly, you're saying that my palate will have changed and broadened so significantly in 25 years that I'll never dream of having included something so simple as this mole dish? While I definitely hope that the first part of that is true - how terrible it would be not to learn and grow in two decades' time - I also hope that I'd still appreciate something as basic and delicious as a delicious plate of pollo con mole at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

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