Neighbourhood: Whyte Ridge
Address: 1715 Kenaston Blvd
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
The South slub’s dining scene diversified this year, adding Tex Mex cuisine to the existing mix of steak, pizza and chicken chains. Fiesta themed Los Chicos Restaurante y Cantina took over the former digs of Dacquisto’s this winter. A vibrant coat of rainbow-hued paint, touristy Mexican artifacts and handsome hammered metal light fixtures transformed the former tony Italian restaurant into a fun factory with a casual vacation vibe.
WOW Hospitality concept chef, Michael Dacquisto has created a menu of affordable price points (Tuesdays tacos are $1.95 in the lounge) and familiar flavours, making Los Chicos a go-to for suburban families (plenty of booster seats and crayons) and ethnic eats neophytes.
Tex Mex is a localized version of Mexican cuisine that originated along the Texas-Mexico border. This hybrid fare got its name in the 1800s from train schedules that abbreviated the Texas-Mexico line as Tex.Mex. White flour tortillas, cheddar cheese and spices of other cultures, like cumin, are cuisine staples along with dishes like fajitas and nachos.
Complimentary baskets of satisfyingly salty corn chips and citrus bright salsa fresca arrive quickly to satiate starving chicos. Sample platters, a TexMex signature, boast shareables from the fryer-chicken fingers, barbeque-sauced wings and taquitos-are designed to dunk in mild queso and Southwest ranch dips. For a flavour boost reach for vivacious Valentina.
Guacamole has never been so entertaining as a server prepares the dip tableside, imparting tips (leave the pit in to prevent browning) and the opportunity for picky eaters to opt out of ingredients, like cilantro.
Tortilla soup sings with notes of crisp red and green bell pepper, tomato, chicken tendrils, grated mild cheddar and chewy strips of fried tortilla in golden chicken broth. Hearty Texas red chili laden with morsels of beef offers a nudge of spice with a acidic, vinegary finish.
Sizzling excitement primes the palate for steak fajitas. Brawny strips of chewy steak and seared slivers of onion and bell peppers anchor the self-assembled wraps.
Chocolate banana chimichangas ooze sweetness from crisp fried shells.
Los Chicos is open Mon-Thu 11:30 am-11 pm; Fri & Sat 11:30 am-1 am; and Sun 4:30 pm-11 pm.