Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tomasito's

In the last 5 years the Warehouse District restaurant scene has grown in leaps and bounds in terms of breadth and depth. Whether you're craving cochon de lait, raw oysters, barbecue, sushi, spaghetti alla carbonara, or shepherd's pie - it's all there within 3 block radius. And with the opening of Tomasito's, you can add a Tex-Mex enchilada to that list.

Owner Tommy Andrade has expanded his business across Tchoupitoulas from his eponymous restaurant and wine bar by opening a restaurant where mass quantities of chips, salsa, and margaritas are consumed by those who don't mind spending more than places like Superior Grill. The interior's dark woods and tile floor replicates an upscale hacienda, but the courtyard and covered patio out back have the most desirable tables, at least while the weather cooperates. Service outside can be painstakingly slow, even when the restaurant is empty, but as long as your margarita pitcher is filled, you probably won't mind.

Meals begin with complimentary chips and salsa. If dining with a group, chances are that you will order the Gringo Duo ($13), which includes a large bowl of respectable queso and guacamole loaded with so much lime that it almost tastes effervescent on the tongue. The margaritas are delicious but expensive, with the highest grades running over $40 per pitcher. The house version is $15, but as The Folk Singer said, "I am OK with paying more to avoid the guaranteed hangover."

The menu includes tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas in different iterations using steak, chicken, and shrimp. Fish tacos are fried nuggets in a tortilla slathered with so much chipotle crema that the heat overpowered everything else on the plate. Steak fajitas were grilled inconsistently so that some pieces were still cold in the middle and others overcooked crisp. Either way, the beef was not very flavorful. The accompanying tortillas were obviously pulled from a cellophane bag and the rice was low grade, but the beans were acceptable.


The enchiladas though are another story. I am a sucker for cheese enchiladas, and Tomasito's are well executed if not a little different. The tortillas are folded over instead of rolled and cooked dry without a sauce, the slightly crispy exterior leading me to believe that they were cooked in a skillet. I asked for the classic red sauce instead of the cheese sauce (cheese on top of cheese?), which was deeper in flavor than most - closer to a mole sauce. The verde enchiladas (pictured) are filled with shredded dark meat chicken and melted cheese and then topped with a vibrant sauce made from tomatillos.

The new standard bearer of Tex-Mex cuisine, Tomasito's is not. A nice place to sit outside and sip a margarita on Cinco de Mayo? Absolutely, just remember to order the enchiladas if you get hungry.

Tomasito's - Par
755 Tchoupitoulas
(504) 527-0942
Dinner Mon-Sat

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disagree. Service was non-stop and on your face. Not even in my face...all over it. Overkill but that happens when there are only 3 people in the restaurant...rightfully so. The food is abysmal, only Joey Tribbiani could like. I would equate their efforts of Mexican to the Detroit Lions offensive line...no, that is disrespectful to the Lions. This place is terrible. I mean awful. However, it is probably the perfect place to go on cicno de mayo bc you know you will get a table and drinks quickly. Also, don't go unless you live in the WHD bc the food will try to exit you at a record pace...could be a messy drive home. Treat this place like a house fire....STAND BACK 500 FEET!!!

Peter said...

Anon,

Seems that we had different experiences, in terms of service.

Also, I did not have the same... shall we say... "plumbing" issues that you had after my meal. But that is sage advice for those that do.

As always, we appreciate the comments, especially those as colorful as yours. Keep 'em coming.

Kimberly Ranjbar said...

Did they improve the recipe for the queso? When I went it was not even passable :(

Peter said...

Kim,

I read your post about the queso, and I have to say that mine was not grainy like yours. It was definitely better than the queso at places like Superior Grill and Serrano's.

Also, I forgot to mention in the post that I heard through a very good customer of Tommy's that he was pretty disappointed with the food in the first few months of opening Tomasito's and has since hired new kitchen staff. I think the new hires happened at the beginning of this year.

Thanks for commenting.

Peter

chadwick_j said...

wow you scared me in going to that place! maybe do another visit in a few months to see it its gotten better

Anonymous said...

fresh guac loaded with lime juice? that means it isn't fresh... only reason for lime in guac is from a business perspective.

friends dont let friends put lime in guacamole!