11940 Manchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78748
4141 Cap. of TX Hwy.
Austin, TX 78704
11066 Pecan Park Blvd
Cedar Park, TX 78613
Mourad Belkacem started The Texican on Manchaca over 20 years ago. His idea was to fuse El Paso style Mexican with a bit of central Texas Tex Mex, and it was absolutely the right thing to do. There are three Texican restaurants today (the other two are at Brodie Oaks on South Lamar and at Lakeline Mall) but again, it’s here down on Manchaca that it all began, and where the fans of this unique style of cuisine continue to pack the place.
The appetizers at The Texican are a study in taste and presentation. Let’s begin with the Spinach Quesadillas. The mixture is perfectly grilled melted white cheese, spinach, mushrooms and onions on house made flour tortillas. The first bite says it all. A unique flavor rush with the spinach as the star. Couldn’t ask for a tastier Quesadilla. Ditto for the Queso a la Parilla.
You begin with a melange of white cheese and sauteed vegetables. The flavor profile of this appetizer is encompassing: the tastes just wrap around your palate and the sizzling hot flour tortilla seals the deal!
And we’ve talked about these before, but they bear mention again because of their unique flavors: try the Stuffed Jalapenos. These are red jalapenos stuffed with a filling of cream cheese in a potato batter. Then you add some sweet jalapeno jelly and voila! I can still remember when I first tried this dish. I suspect you will as well. And let’s not forget the Shrimp Soup Cozumel. As the name suggests, this is a tomato-based shrimp soup topped with cilantro. Great for the cold weather we’ve been having and for that matter, it works well in any season. The flavors are subtle, but the impact is powerful.
The main dishes run the gamut from sizzling fajitas to enchiladas, grilled meats and fish dishes and some serious tacos. Start with the traditional Beef Fajitas. The seasoning is spot-on and the tender, marinated beef is imbued with just the right amount of spice along with the requisite veggies.
The Pork Chop Platter is another family favorite. The chops are tender and the onions, tomatoes and whole Serrano peppers take it over the top. If you favor pork chops, order this one. The Tacos Pollo al Carbon are always a good bet. The tender (and that’s the operative word) chicken almost melts into mouth when it hits the warm flour tortilla. Add a bit of pico de gallo and lime, and this is a keeper.
One of my favorite seafood dishes is the Orange Roughy Veracruz. The tastes are typical of this region of Mexico with a ranchero sauce made of spicy, chunky tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. This is the perfect sauce for the texture of the Roughy, and the dish goes down quite easily.
And while I’ve mentioned this before, no review of the Texican would be complete without the outstanding Cabrito. The flavors derived from this uber-tender young goat that’s roasted in a marinade of herbs and spices are simply something that demand your attention. I’ve had it many times, and it’s the best in Austin: plain and simple!
Likewise the Chile Relleno is a vintage Texican dish. Begin with a Poblano pepper and your choice of fillings (today we’re featuring the Shrimp), roll it in an egg batter and then pan-fry it while presenting with a lovely buttery red tomatillo sauce. This is amazingly tender, and works on every level.
There are a variety of Enchiladas at the Texican and my favorite is the two shredded Chicken Enchiladas topped with a house made sour cream sauce. This is a very mellow dish yet it resonates with flavor and terrific aftertastes. This is another MUST TRY entree.
The Texican also serves delicious breakfast tacos on weekend mornings and is open daily for lunch. This restaurant is a classic complement to all the Tex Mex joints in Austin with its unique yet very comforting taste profiles. And now, I think I’d like to close with one of of their famous Texican Martinis. A great way to end a visit to The Texican.