Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food: El Tiempo Cantina

Usually, you can tell how good a restaurant is by how crowded it is. People tend to vote with their wallets, so if the food is bad, the place will be as devoid of life as a sepulcher. El Tiempo Cantina, a small chain of Mexican restaurants located in Houston, does not suffer from this problem.

It's busy - about as noisy and as packed with patrons as a restaurant can be without becoming claustrophobic. The house specialty is the grilled fajita platter, which features several different meats that are placed on a special mobile grill and brought out right to your table. The whole affair should feel pretty gimmicky, but when you're putting tender quail, spicy chorizo, and baby back ribs into your fajitas, you won't care.

Aside from the platters, however, I didn't feel there was anything particularly stellar about the food. Chips and dip were competent, and the margaritas were strong but otherwise fairly typical. The sticker shock at the end (a mixed platter that serves four costs $125) blunts but does not negate my recommendation. If you ever want to stuff bacon-wrapped shrimp into your fajita in Houston, you know where to go now.

2/4 stars


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