It’s been awhile since I’ve featured Tex-Mex on this blog, a situation I feel the need to fix post-haste. Today’s review will feature one of my go-to local joints, Ojeda’s Restaurant. A co-worker introduced me to the original Ojeda’s near Love Field way back in 2001, and I’ve been going on and off ever since. How has this DFW mainstay held up to the test of time? Read on to find out.
- Reviewed location: 2001 Coit Road, Suite 102, Plano, TX; 3 other locations in DFW (Love Field/Oak Lawn, Lewisville, and DeSoto)
- Hours: Mon-Thurs. 10:30 A.M.-9:30 P.M.; Friday 10:30 A.M.-10:30 P.M.; Saturday 9:30 A.M.-10:30 P.M.; Sunday 9:30 A.M.-9:30 P.M.
- Price: $15-20 per person, no alcohol (but you really can’t leave without trying a margarita)
Directions: from President George Bush Turnpike, exit Coit Road and go north. Proceed approximately 2 miles to the intersection with Park Boulevard. The restaurant is in the shoppin center at the northwest corner of Park and Coit.
Ojeda’s has been a Dallas-area institution since 1969, an arch rival to Herrera’s, considered by many to be the king of the Dallas Tex-Mex scene, and continues to be owned and operated by descendants of the original Ojeda family. The original location on Maple Avenue, just south of Love Field, has even hosted dignitaries like former President Bill Clinton during his visits to the Dallas area. A manager I worked with at my former place of employment loved this place, and we’d go to the Love Field location probably more than we should have, but the newer location in Plano is only 15 minutes from home, so that’s typically the location we visit now.
The Plano location is smaller than the original in Dallas, but the interior is furnished in much the same manner. That is, you know in you’re a stereotypical neon-and-loud-colors Tex-Mex joint from the minute you walk in. This visit was on a Thursday night in November around 8:00, and it was still packed, with a 5-10 minute wait for a table.
When I discover a new restaurant, I tend to gravitate to one or two dishes and order those over and over again. Unimaginative, perhaps, but when I find something I like, I find it hard to let go. At Ojeda’s, my go-to order are the chicken fajita nachos and the sour cream chicken enchiladas. We also ordered a bowl of queso for the table.
Chile con queso
Chicken fajita nachos
Sour cream chicken enchiladas
I’ll start off with the queso. This is far from the best queso in town, certainly a far cry from the world-renowned Bob Armstrong Dip at Mattito’s. This version is a little too thick, the biggest problem with too-thick queso being that it quickly turns to glue. There’s also a strange flavor going on; it’s hard to describe, but it’s as if the ratio of cheese to tomatoes/chiles is backwards. Nevertheless, I order it all the time when I come here, so it clearly can’t be all bad. Maybe they lace it with crack or something.
Moving on to the nachos. Normally their fajita nachos are quite good, but I was disappointed with this offering. It appeared as though they were nuked in the microwave, and for an insufficient amount of time at that, judging by the incompletely melted cheese. The chicken fajita meat, though, is solid, with a moist profile, a nice sear from the grill, and a healthy dose of spice and seasoning. I’ll chalk it up to a bad night from the chef.
The main course, though, was just as good as I’m used to. The most impressive thing about Ojeda’s enchiladas is the “bite”, as in, non-soggy tortillas. I always seem to mess this up when I make enchiladas at home, but a good enchilada has a solid, firm texture even underneath the sauce, and these deliver perfectly. I’m also a huge fan of the sour cream sauce, a luscious mix of sour cream and monterrey jack cheese. The shredded chicken filling, while a tad dry, is nicely seasoned with a subtle hint of heat. The refried beans are also rich and meaty, and actually go together will with either leftover sour cream sauce or queso, but vegans and vegetarians beware – there are bits of pork mixed in. They will substitute black charro beans if you ask, though. We didn’t get dessert, but I have had their sopaipillas in the past, and they are a decent offering when fresh – fluffy and doughy, with a cinnamon-sugar coating, and a drop or two of honey makes them really, really good. Impressively, despite the crowd, we were out in little over an hour (luckily, since I live close by, we got home before the dreaded Tex-Mex coma kicked in).
Rating: 3 1/2 stars. A bit of a down experience, probably just a bad day, though the original in Oak Lawn is better overall.