It seems like my best restaurant discoveries are coming more and more in the form of happy accidents. Take Rio Grande in Pflugerville.
This time, it was a last-minute invitation to join with some people from a Meetup group. I never heard of the Rio Grande Tex Mex, but hey, have GPS, will travel. So off we went.
I have to be honest…I didn’t have high hopes. The name sounded like yet another chain Tex-Mex, with boring ingredients and so-so salsa. Boy, was I wrong!
First of all there was the salsa. This one had a real kick! And the chips were fresh and crisp. It was all I could do to not eat more of them. But the vegetarian nachos were calling out to me from the menu, so I wanted to save my imaginary “chip allowance” for my meal. (Imaginary, because I have yet to stick to it!)
In this case, thank goodness I did keep my chip indulgence low, because what arrived was a HUGE plate of giant chips, decked out with tons of vegetables, cheese, black beans and more of that amazing salsa…and a great big pile of jalapeno that warmed my capsaicin loving heart. On the side, was an even bigger pile of guacamole and another of sour cream.
I usually eat pretty low-fat, and in small quantities, but I knew this was going to be an exception. Who cares if it was all absolutely terrible for my waistline — my taste buds won out, and I feasted!
I’m not sure if I would like to claim that I ate the whole thing…that would have been quite an accomplishment for me. But the truth is, everyone around me wanted a taste, so I had some much appreciated help in clearing that plate. No, really! I didn’t eat it all!
The deliciousness didn’t stop with my nachos. My meat-eating partner-in-crime , Sir Lancelot, ordered Morlianas, a chicken enchiladas dish served with freshly sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers and queso fresco. Let me just say that there was not a speck left on his plate when the waitress returned to clear the table — and he had no help in cleaning that plate!
After we ate, I did some research on the Rio Grande Tex-Mex. It’s a local place with two locations (one in Hutto and the one we went to in Pflugerville), owned by native Texans Mario Maldonado and his wife Raquel Cisneros. It seems the two have a reputation for excellence in local restaurants — no wonder this didn’t taste like chain restaurant food.
The local pride also showed in the service. Our glasses never emptied…they were refilled as soon as they reached half full. And when there was a slight delay in the kitchen for one dish, our waitress told us immediately, and offered her apologies. I love restaurants where it feels like you’re a guest instead of a customer — and Rio Grande definitely provided that experience.
I can’t wait to go back…just read a review that they have an awesome breakfast, too. I’ll have to check that out next. Just let me run a 5K or two first…I don’t want to regret a single bite!
There’s a patio which would be great for a date night, and a good kids’ menu, too.
More info on Rio Grande:
15821 Central Commerce Dr
Pflugerville, TX 78660
Monday – Thursday 11:00a – 9:30p
Friday 11:00a – 10:30p
Saturday 9:00a – 10:30p
Sunday 9:00a – 9:00p
Website: Rio Grande Tex Mex