Dining review: Tres Casas Mexican Grill in Keller

Tres Casas Mexican Grill

208 N. Main St., Keller



Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

Posted 7:40am on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013

There's no denying the unique look of Tres Casas Mexican Grill. It's small, with siding like an old house and a flat roof. Inside, almost everything is within arm's reach. I think it's the smallest sit-down restaurant I've ever been to. (But it does have a large patio.)

Tres Casas belongs to Morayma and Gerardo Devora, and although it's billed as a "Mexican Grill," you'll mostly find traditional Tex-Mex: tacos, quesadillas, etc.

Like the restaurant, the menu is small -- a single page that serves as both the lunch and dinner menus (you'll save a couple of bucks at lunch).

Plates are served with the standard sides -- rice and refried beans -- which are, again, pretty standard.

Although the sides aren't memorable, the real character is in what takes up most of the plate. Tostadas ($7.75), which I rarely see on menus, were loaded with ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese topped with chilled sour cream. They were messy, but had a loud and satisfying crunch.

After an experiment with Taco Bell's new Cool Ranch taco failure, I was in desperate need of tacos of superior quality.

The tacos Americanos ($7.75) were crispy shells stuffed with the same beef and toppings as the tostadas. Unlike with the franchise taco, I had no shame in tilting my head to down a whole taco with actual flavor.

And the crunch continued with the flautas ($7.75), crispiness wrapped around tender shredded beef and chicken. I recommend you dip both in sour cream and guacamole, consume and repeat.

Unfortunately, the grilled Tampiqueña steak plate ($8.99), a modest attempt at a skirt steak and chicken enchilada, was silenced by the energetic crunchiness of all the tacos and tostadas.

But you can spice it up with Gerardo's dizzying salsa verde, made in-house. If you're a salsa freak, you'll freak over his incendiary, semisweet creation.

Two desserts are also made in-house: tres leches cake, which was more like a regular piece of cake and far too dry, and flan, which had a pleasant coffeelike aftertaste. And it was denser than traditional flan, also a plus.

The one dish that stood on its own, not surprisingly, was Tres Casas ($8.75), three tacos al pastor with seasoned pork chunks, served with cilantro and onions, topped with pineapple (50 cents). Covered in a sweet and spicy rub, the pork left a welcome greasiness on my mouth.

And despite their lack of the crunch that had me sold earlier, there was nothing small about the al pastor tacos' engaging texture and flavor.

I dare you to pair them with that stunningly spicy salsa verde.

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