By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
But the single best use of cheese I encountered while eating my way through the Avila family tree was an enchilada plate at Avila's, a beautifully balanced presentation of melted sharp cheese, quality tortillas and a robust chili sauce. When Tex-Mex defenders extol the virtues of their favorite cooking style—goofy as it seems, the genre's still not taken seriously in places like New York City, where critic Robert Sietsema was recently assailed for describing fajitas as "splendid"—I suspect their argument's rooted in dishes like this one.
The superb enchiladas were bolder than most of the dishes I sampled at Avila's, a wonderfully friendly place where the servers are quick to say "thank you" and ask after your day. Too light seasoning spoiled an otherwise decent plate of brisket tacos, and a tortilla soup skewed bland. A dollop of guacamole and a pellet of queso were the soup's only identifying Tex-Mex markers: The celery-rich chicken soup could pass for comfort food in almost any cuisine.
But the kitchen's reserve vanished with dessert, a white chocolate bread pudding that's a solid brick of sweetness. The pudding is so heavily saturated with alcohol that the first bite felt like French-kissing a sailor: I genuinely wondered about the wisdom of returning to the office after eating it.
4714 Maple ave
Dallas, TX 75219
Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn
2104 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206-7126
Region: East Dallas & Lakewood
Unlike Mextopia, which cultivates a hip, detached vibe, Avila's doesn't feel like a place to get drunk—even on bread pudding. It's Mrs. Avila's house, for goodness sake. And therein lies the difference between the two superficially similar restaurants, which really aren't the same at all. If I recall correctly, that's what those twins back in high school kept trying to tell us.
Avilas 4714 Maple Ave., 214-520-2700. avilasrestaurant.com. Open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $
Mextopia 2104 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9400, mextopia.com. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. $