The Haunting

Tradicion can't shake the ghost of restaurants past

Tradicion's chile relleno is among the oddest of the species you'll see in Dallas. There is no overbearing coating or sheath of thick ranchero sauce swamping it. The roasted poblano pepper, deep green with potency, tightly tapered, is oddly exposed. Here the poblano truly is centerpiece. It isn't cooked into mush. The filling, shredded chicken, recedes under the force of poblano weight. This is a pepper with everything else reduced to subtleties. Chile rellenos aren't for everybody, and among those who revel in it, this version isn't for many of them. Loud in its nakedness, brazen in its minimalism, this dish rings true among its kind.

Not so the steak a la Mexicana, a bone-in 14-ounce slab of graying beef (ordered medium rare) with pasty fat pockets in juiceless mediocrity. It's topped with a ranchero sauce rippled with tomatoes and chipotle onions. You could taste the packaging on this steak, which means it was either old or freezer-burned or frozen and thawed and frozen again or some combination thereof.

Why does Tradicion seem like a restaurant that can't quite accept itself? Why does it suffer from a lack of resolve and obliviousness to details? Why is the dining room a hash of holdovers instead of brushed with a distinctive Mexican flare? These are the questions that haunt Tradicion. These are the questions that spook the menu. These are the questions that might scare you away.

The ceviche is good, but too little attention is paid to details at Tradicion.
TOM JENKINS
The ceviche is good, but too little attention is paid to details at Tradicion.

4334 Lemmon Ave., 214-520-5974. Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. $$-$$$.

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