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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Fri 7:00am–9:00pm
Sat–Sun 7:00am–midnight

Features Live music
Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Spring Branch
6917 Long Point Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 680-1071
El Hidalguense
A vibrant Mexican goat-roasting party every weekend

El Hidalguense feels more legit and neighborly than most Mexican restaurants in town. The food’s authentic and the service attentive; you can duck in for take-out meat by the pound, or spend hours getting drunk on the cheap. Free tequila digestifs are always nice (El Hidalguense only has a license to sell beer, so the margaritas are made with faux-liquor mix).

The dressed-down bright room echoes with extended-family Spanish-language crosstalk, and it glows from an open fire roasting the dramatically hanging carcasses of goats, lambs, and cows. On weekends, you’ll likely dine to mariachis, and instead of chips and salsa, you’re brought complimentary, if dry, chicken flautas and a thick chile sauce. Charro beans, which come out before your mains, have enough pork backbone to eat them like soup. But the main event is the enormously overpriced cabrito asado (which three signs insist is the best in town). The grilled baby goat usually shows up tender and basted by its own juices, but in need of a liberal salting; the meat closest to the rib bones is best. Grilled lamb (borrego) is less impressive and fairly underseasoned. Better is the winning “mixteca” preparation, in which the meat is steamed with a chile-based sauce in a leaf, like cochinita pibil. What a way to treat a lamb! What a way to treat a neighbor!

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