CUCHARA: AN AUTHENTIC MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN THE HEART OF HOUSTON
The first time I came across Cuchara was when I stumbled across Houston Chronicle’s top 100 restaurants in Houston list and spent hours analysing each entry. I had just moved to Houston and decided to make it my mission to go to each and every one of the 100 eateries. Fast-forward to a year later and that mission hasn’t yet been completed (and it’s not for lack of trying)!
Cuchara, which was in the 40’s on Houston Chronicle’s list and means spoon in Spanish, is a Mexican bistro located in Montrose. The menu celebrates authentic ingredients and dishes from Mexico City – and stays away from Tex-Mex, which is highly popular here in Houston. Having been to Mexico a few times myself and having fallen in love with its cuisine, I was so pleased to see that the menu wasn’t Americanized and stayed true to its roots.
Photo credit: Gary Wise/Flickr
The co-owner, Ana Beaven, who was welcoming guests by the bar during my visit, told Eater that she “really wanted to show Houston what a Mexican restaurant is, like a true authentic Mexican restaurant without piñatas, without cheesiness, just a contemporary, fun place that you could find in Mexico City, in any hip neighborhood. And [her] sister [Cecilia Beaven] who is a very good artist, helped [her] put together the concept about decorating it in an artistic way”.
What first caught my attention was just how buzzing the place was. We went at 12pm on a Saturday and the place was packed with groups of friends and families. The atmosphere was incredibly fun as latin musicians were performing live and setting the tone.
Our muy friendly waiter talked us through the menu and mentioned the “must” dishes for brunch, which included: Huevos Chelo, Fried eggs on top of rolled crunchy potato tacos covered in spicy green salsa topped with onion and cotija cheese ($15) and Molletes, which are oven baked bolillos with beans and cheese ($12), on top of which potatoes and chorizo can be added ($4). The latter, we were told, is really filling and since we weren’t that hungry we opted for tacos and ordered the Tacos campechanos ($13) which are carnitas and crunchy pork rinds tacos and Tacos de chicarrón prensado ($16): pressed pork belly tacos. Both were incredibly juicy and flavourful, especially when drizzling the accompanying sauce on top of them. Whilst the pork belly was super duper tender, I was particularly fond of that crunch that came with the pork rinds.
I have to admit though that I am unbelievable glad to have kept some room for dessert as the Buñuelos de chocolate picante was one of the most mouthwatering desserts I have had in a really long time. Just picture crispy on the outside cinnamon spiced fritter stuffed with melted chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream… just dreamy.
The dessert alone would earn this place a spot on anyone’s top 100 spots in Houston list! I’ll definitely be back.
Opening times: Cuchara is open all-day from lunch to dinner from Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays
Good to know: Cuchara has an online store, to help artisans from Mexico exhibit and sell their work: http://www.cucharamarket.com/
Planning a party? Cuchara caters to private events: www.cuchararestaurant.com/s/Catering-2017-CORRECTED-MARCH20-Insert.pdf