In DFW, there’s definitely no shortage of Tex-Mex options. But when you’re looking for something a little more classic and a little less covered in cheese (don’t get me wrong — cheese is always good), keep Cantina Laredo in mind.
Before we get to the food part of this, it’s important to point out one critical piece of the Cantina Laredo experience. Part of any great restaurant outing is the service they provide. After working in the food industry for years myself, and having many friends who did the same, a meal can be made or broken by how attentive and responsive the servers are — no matter how good the food.
At Cantina Laredo, my guest and I were immediately welcomed and shown to our table where we were then introduced to Fernando. During the entire evening, Fernando gave suggestions, answered our questions, and shared hilarious stories. By the end of the night, it was like we were at a family dinner with that crazy uncle who insisted you try one more dish and have one more drink. It’s no wonder that he helps train wait staff across the different locations and was featured in a video about great customer service.
Now, onto the food …
Chips and Salsa: Being from Texas, I know better than to eat a lot of chips and salsa before meals. But the warm chips and fire-roasted salsa didn’t help me from doing better.
Fresh Guacamole: Hands down, this guac fits into my top 3 list in DFW. it’s made with perfectly ripened avocados and served with handmade corn tortillas.
Wild Red Snapper Ceviche: Fresh red snapper paired with a sweet pineapple and spicy serrano sauce. If you don’t think you like ceviche, give this one a try.
Carnitas Tacos – These simple carnitas tacos are made with Berkshire pork and topped with the taco trifecta: queso fresco, cilantro, and diced onions. Definitely a good lunch option if you’re not looking for something too heavy.
Pollo en Mole: They take half of a chicken, grill it until there’s a char, and serve it with a homemade mole sauce with sesame brittle. I don’t know if you’ve ever had sesame brittle before, but after letting it soak in the mole for a while, it was like a spicy, nutty, and sweet candy at the end of the dish.
Guajillo Chile Glazed Tasmanian Salmon: Guajillo chiles are medium to hot chiles often used in Mexican dishes. Here, it’s made into a glaze and topped on a piece of salmon on top of grilled jicama, poblanos, and red cabbage. It’s a dish that leaves you satisfied without making you fill completely full … even though you probably will be after eating so many corn tortillas and guacamole (did I mention how good it was?).
Jalisco Berkshire Pork Chop: This was the last dish we tried, and by the time we got to it, I wish it would have been one of the first. (But hey, at least I had a great lunch the next day.) Served with glazed carrots, and a fantastic red-pepper sauce.
In a Category of Its Own
Elote Con Chile & Crema: Sweet corn, grilled, and topped with chile and cream. If this could be on every menu, everywhere, it should. Squeeze a little bit of lime on top … it’s really a must.
Mexican Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream: Because Fernando insisted that we couldn’t leave without having dessert. This warm apple pie (skillet hot, actually) is served with a delicious cinnamon ice cream (and that “delicious” comes from someone who isn’t a big cinnamon fan). It’s one of the few cinnamon items that I would intentionally order again.
Now, for nearly every order that came to the table, so did a new beverage. I spoke with their bartender on staff later in the evening, and she mentioned her momentary apprehension when we started to order drinks of the reposado and mezcal (the earthier and smokier cousins of tequila) variety. I assured her that they were very, very much enjoyed.
Pineapple Infused Rita: Probably one of the only letdowns of the evening, only because the pineapple flavor wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It did, however, taste like a great regular margarita. (Pineapple Infused Avión Reposado, Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur, Fresh Squeezed Lemon)
Perfect Patrón: Classic. Easy to drink. Is it perfect? If I were drinking it on a beach in Mexico, I’d say yes. (Patrón Silver, Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur, Fresh Squeezed Lime)
White Honey Sangria: My guest wasn’t as much into the smokey drinks as I was, but she insisted this was one of the top sangrias she has had in the DFW. A solid brunch beverage, for sure. (Moscato, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, Fresh Lemon and Lime Juices and Fresh-Squeezed Orange)
Ginger Paloma: For me, this was near perfection. I’m a big fan of the paloma, and will order one nearly every time I see an interesting one on the menu. I don’t even need the beach to absolutely enjoy this drink … although it wouldn’t hurt. (Avión Silver, Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur, Fresh Squeezed Lime and Grapefruit Juices with San Pellegrino Pompelmo)
Cantina Mojito: Appreciating the sweeter beverages, my guest enjoyed this clean, crisp drink that comes in multiple flavors, this one pomegranate. (Don Q Cristal Rum, Fresh Mint, Fresh Squeezed Lime, Cane Sugar 10 Pomegranate)
Smoking Gun: Save the best for last, they say. And this, in my opinion, was perfection. There’s nothing you can really compare it to, so let’s just say it has what it takes to hang with the best Old Fashioned and Manhattan. (Los Amantes Reposado Mezcal, Gosling’s Ginger Beer, Orange Bitters, Agave, Luxardo Cherry … so of course it was great.)
Will I be there again? Yes, soon. And hopefully Fernando will be there, too, to share more stories about photos about his family.
Cantina Laredo has multiple locations in the DFW, but you can find Fernando often at the Addison restaurant. This tasting was complimentary; thoughts are my own. Uber was taken to and from because we are responsible adults (and you should be, too)!