Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Picante Grill

There's so many good places to eat in SA - and Broadway is a great place to go to look for one. You can shoot out the back gate and be down among some terrific restaurants in a matter of minutes. And of course if you're in San Antonio looking for food, there's no more natural kind than Tex-Mex.

I hit Broadway for lunch today with my boss. We passed up Tomatillos - a legend among former Fort Sam denizens - and headed to the Picante Grill (www.picategrill.com).

The Grill was promising - the parking lot was jammed with cars, and the nice, casually decorated interior was clearly hopping. Nonetheless, we were seated quickly in a booth, and a waiter brought us fresh nacho chips and salsa in a matter of seconds. The chips were light and hot, which is an immediate plus for Tex-Mex, but the salsa was really not good. We both agreed it was as if they opened a can of tomato sauce and added a few chunks of jalapeno. That was not a good sign.

The lunch menu was reasonably priced - about $6.50 for a plate, and another $1.50 for a drink. I was excited, but a little concerned when I saw they offered enchiladas with mole sauce. Mole is unique, and easy to fail at. A true test of the quality of a Tex-Mex restaurant. I love mole. If you've never had it, I recommend ordering it at a good Mexican restaurant. And unfortunately, I don't recommend ordering it at the Picante Grill.

Mole is a chocolate-based sauce. Yuck, you might say, imagining it poured over your chicken enchiladas. If you're picturing a melted Hershey bar, I feel your pain, but you would be wrong. It's more of a baker's chocolate - just slightly sweet, but more of a rich taste that has a truly unique twist.

I've tried to make it myself a few times and failed miserably. It's a difficult recipe to master, and probably even more difficult to pull off when cooking for the masses.

Picante Grill's mole sauce was a little to whipped and light. It lacked the elegance of a good mole.  It might be unfair to judge a Tex-Mex restaurant by it's mole, as not just anyone can make it.  So I give Picante Grill a passing grade.  Not bad for a $10 lunch, but I wouldn't bring anyone there to impress them. 

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