The unusually named Tex Chick is a tiny restaurant situated deep in the heart of Montrose. Even driving on Fairview, east of Montrose, it is easy to overlook, as it is such a small place. Located in a stand-alone building, there are only three tables, space for just a dozen or so diners. Though they do serve chicken and the restaurant is located in Texas, the name is not terribly representative or explanatory; Tex Chick specializes in family style Puerto Rican food. You can be assured that the food is freshly prepared and home style, as you can easily peer across the counter into the small kitchen area where one or both of the affable, older Puerto Rican couple is preparing your food. The decor can be described as homey, and eating at Tex Chick is almost like eating at someone’s house.
The small number of the restaurant’s specialties is shown on the chalkboard that hangs at the counter. For those unfamiliar with it, Puerto Rican cooking is very similar to Cuban cooking and other nearby island cooking, and fairly comparable to that of most tropical Latin areas in Central America and Bolivar’s homelands of the northern South America. There are beef and pork dishes with straightforward flavors, some fish, black beans, white rice, root vegetables and some tropical fruits. A slight smell of cooking onions that are used in many of the dishes pervades the place. The entrees include beef steak, Came Frita (fried beef cubes), Chuleta (pork chop), Come Guisada (stewed beef), Pollo Guisado (stewed chicken), Pechuga Empanizada (breaded and fried chicken breast) and the acquired taste that is Bacalao, the salted cod that has a very fishy taste. The Came Frita featuring just fried crispy lean cubes of meat might be a nice entree with which to start.
Rice and string beans (called habichuelas) come with some of the plates. Red beans are served in place of the string beans for some dishes. Each of the entrees is also served with tostones y mofongo, twice-fried mashed plantains and a small lettuce and tomato salad. The plantains are a bit bland themselves, and are much better with the accompanying spicy green salsa. The tiny lettuce and tomato salad is just a diversion. A handful of non-Puerto Rican items are listed on the back wall, tacos and hamburgers. The tacos can be overlooked, but Tex Chick does serve a well crafted hamburger. The properly sized patty and buns is assembled in front of your eyes with fresh ingredients that can include cheese and bacon. The crisp, thin fries and onion rings are nice accompaniments to the hamburgers.
The small restaurant is often crowded, as four tables are easy to fill, with Spanish-speaking patrons, mostly from the Caribbean. To assuage the apprehensive, numerous awards from Marvin Zindler for a clean kitchen are displayed on the wall. Tex Chick is an interesting place to try.
7121/2 Fairview (between Taft and Montrose)
Houston, Texas 77006
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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