Katharine Shilcutt's 10 Favorite Dishes in Houston
5. Enchiladas a la Taylor at Spanish Village
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Spanish Village has a long and complex history, as tends to happen when a restaurant is more than 50 years old. Houston used to have two Spanish Village restaurants, born of a feud that lasted for years -- one at 4811 Lillian and one at 4720 Almeda. The Christmas-light-covered Almeda location eventually outlasted the Lillian location and is the only remaining Spanish Village today, serving what Robb Walsh once called "vintage Tex-Mex at its finest."
The enchiladas a la Taylor are the best example of that vintage Tex-Mex, topped with plenty of chile con carne, chili gravy and raw white onions, while the margaritas and their signature dagger-like ice shards remain the stuff of Houston legend.
The rambling, papel picado-strung Spanish Village evokes everything people love about Tex-Mex, everything we find comfort in about the cuisine: a sprawling but cozy set of dining rooms that reminds you of your aunt's house at Christmas with all the cousins and the noise and family photos and the tacky colored lights running from room to room; gooey cheese that wraps your stomach and your heart in warmth (and perhaps cholesterol, but who cares?); simply constructed guacamole salad without any fuss or pomp, served with idiosyncratic bits of carrot and celery stuck on top; a hot plate of enchiladas with nothing else but ground beef, plenty of cheese and white onions telling you that even if everything else in the world is in a state of disarray and chaos, this one thing will always be here and always be the same and you'll be okay.