Cabo Restaurant

Though primarily a bar, the food at Cabo is worthy of a special trip. It’s especially well prepared and imaginative for a generally inexpensive, lively and stylishly decorated place that is as much a bar as a restaurant. It can get crowded, and can be fairly rowdy on weekend nights with a relatively younger crowd that has seemingly driven in from the suburbs. Though housed in a fairly large, two-story building, it’s best to get there early if you want to have space to enjoy the food. But, it’s not too raucous for lunch during the week, or often prior to a baseball game.

As the number of Cabo locations has contracted in recent years, the menu has greatly expanded. The offerings are primarily Mexican or Tex-Mex, but, showing the influence of former consultant Arturo Boada, more recently of Beso and Arturo’s, these are strongly influenced from the Caribbean South America. The menu has accurately proffered that the kitchen offers, “traditional Tex-Mex recipes, those found in the coastal fishing villages and selected favorites from Central and South America.”

The menu is divided among appetizers, soups, salads, grilled sandwiches, tacos, burritos, fajitas,  enchiladas and the larger plates. The appetizers provide things on which to munch while drinking, and some dishes that can make for a meal. The soups are the popular tortilla soup and the Roasted Corn and Hot Pepper Soup.

The artful fish tacos are especially good. These, and all of the seafood tacos, consist of shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, and the choice of fillings supported between two corn tortillas. Among the best of the tacos are the Habanero Shrimp Tacos. These can be quite spicy, as you should expect with anything prefaced with “habanero”. The quesadillas with shrimp are excellent. The regular shrimp tacos are very good, also. These tacos are somewhat expensive at around $4 and $5. A couple tacos are usually needed to satiate an average hunger. In contrast, one of the large burritos can satisfy most people.

The sandwiches, especially the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, are great. This is probably one of the best hot sandwiches in town. It features moist char-grilled strips of chicken with shreds of crisp lettuce and slices of tomato on toasted, fresh, distinctive Mexican bolillo-style bun. This uniquely flavored and tasty bread helps to makes these much better than the typical sandwich. The plates, or “Favorites,” are the most ambitious of offerings with grilled yellowfin tuna, plantain-crusted mahi mahi, a unique version of barbecue shrimp, and a coastal Mexican-inspired take on surf-and-turf among the choices. Each can be complemented in spicier fashion by toppings in the tradition of Floyd’s restaurants. Bottles of house-made habanero hot sauce line much of the dining area. This very spicy and flavorful sauce enhances just about everything on the menu. It is hot, though. Make that very hot.

Cabo has a full bar with an emphasis on margaritas, sangria, Cuba Libres, Screwdrivers and Salty Dogs. The margaritas are notoriously potent. There is a wide variety of bottled Mexican beers. For those not interested in imbibing, there are fresh fruit juices: freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices; limonade; and fruit smoothies.

419 Travis (at Texas) 77002, (713) 225-2060

Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.

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Image Credit: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

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