Mexican cuisine transformed by Texan twist

John Proefrock, Staff Writer

Walking into the restaurant you feel welcomed, like an old friend is beckoning you in, you would never know the restaurant had been burned to the ground just 1 year ago. August 15, 2016 was a devastating night for Geoffrey Danek, owner of the popular Tex Mex eatery, Holy Frijoles. The restaurant, on 908 W. 36th St., caught fire in the middle of the night, leaving everything coated in soot and ash. Danek was forced to close, and he did not know when he would open its doors again, if at all.

As you walk in you are greeted by a large open space, with a carry-out window on the right and seating on the left. The low-lit space sets a mellow mood, which is occasionally broken by the clanging of pinball machines in a back room (more on that later).

We were seated promptly and immediately served complimentary chips and salsa. The chips were fresh and warm, and the salsa had just the right amount of spice. We then ordered queso ($6.00), which tasted good, but was a bit on the soupy side. Also, instead of the traditional sodas, Holy Frijoles carries Jones Cola ($2.00). It tasted like a watered down Pepsi, and Pepsi is already pretty bad (shout out to all my Coke lovers).

The menu features a variety of traditional Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas, carnitas, and chimichangas. For my entrée, I ordered the braised shot rib tacos ($12.99), which are served with black beans as a side. The taco was topped with braised short rib, cheese, salsa verde, chopped onions, lime and cilantro. These ingredients blended together to make an amazing meal. The salsa verde was noticeable but not overpowering, and the cilantro/ lime combination brought out the flavor of the short rib. The juices that dripped out of the first taco soaked the second, which made it a little soggy, but delicious none the less.

My only problem with my meal is that you only get the two tacos, and though I was satisfied, I definitely would have eaten another one.

I enjoyed my dining experience, although I was slightly disturbed by the painting of a skinless horse that hung in front of me. Not the most appetizing sight.

After dinner, I walked into the backroom and was greeted by 12 pinball machines, three of which were free to play, the rest were 25 to 50 cents. This retro game provided laid back fun, even though I was promptly destroyed by my mom when we competed for the higher score. This just added to the chill environment that Holy Frijoles provides, and makes it a must if you are looking for delicious Mexican dishes with a Texan twist.