By Sara Newberry
It’s not a challenge to find a Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood, and it seems like I’ve visited all of them at least once. But I realized recently that I hadn’t tried the newer Monterrey on Garland Road. I visited the Monterrey on Greenville Avenue several years ago and, while it was fine, it wasn’t outstanding, so I didn’t feel compelled to return. The Garland Road, one, however, is going to become a part of our regular Tex-Mex rotation. There is some sophisticated layering of flavors happening here. (The restaurant used to be a BBQ place, one that was universally agreed to be mediocre. In theory, Monterrey is still producing BBQ, but none of that was on the menu, so we stuck to Mexican food.)
Enchiladas Tricolor, one of my husband’s favorites, comprises three enchiladas, each topped with a sauce representing a color of the Mexican flag. Tomatillo sauce was tangy, with a nice kick of heat; a sour cream sauce was rich and creamy without being overpowering; and a ranchero sauce was smoky and a little sweet. The enchiladas were generously filled, and the rice and beans served alongside were more than just an afterthought.
Pollo en Mole, one of my favorites, was also surprising. Moles are like curries in that every kitchen — and every cook — produces a slightly different version. Some are cloyingly sweet, while others highlight the earthy smoke from the toasted chilies. Monterrey’s has sweetness and a little pleasing bitterness, which is also common, but it also has the most heat of any mole I have ever had. I am not a huge fan of food that is painful, but this was right on the edge and I ended up cleaning my plate.
A guiso is a stew, and can involve any number of ingredients, just like stews all over the world. One of the oldest cookbooks of Latin cuisine is called El libro de los guisados (The Book of Stews) and was written in 1525. Guiso de Barbacoa is a dish that you’d find simmering away in kitchens all over Mexico, but if a trip to Mexico is not an option, try the one at Monterrey. The shredded meat is falling-apart tender, and the thick broth is studded with jalapenos and tomatoes. It’s stunningly flavorful.
Asado de Puerco is just as flavorful. I chose the green sauce, and its tangy and spicy flavor was the perfect complement to the slightly fatty pork. Again, it was right on the edge of my heat tolerance, but I managed to scoop up every last drop.
You’ve probably driven by Monterrey BBQ and Mexican Cuisine a hundred times. Do yourself a favor and stop at least once.
Monterrey Mexican Cuisine
10920 Garland Road
Open 7 days
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.