Have you ever had a meal that would have been just fine, had it just cost less?
Well, my wife and I were faced with that dilemma over the weekend, when we enjoyed brunch at Cyclone Anaya's Mexican Kitchen in Addison. Despite rumors that the quality had slipped badly since this branch of the Houston "Fine Mex" chain opened a year or so ago, the service wasn't bad, the décor excellent as always, particularly for a chain, and the food was as good as I remembered from prior visits.
Major sticking point though: Our brunch with drinks: $80.
I'm talking brunch.
And this is Cyclone Anayas. Not the Mansion.
We were seated in the main dining room, instead of the beautiful upscale cantina bar or the sumptuously appointed wraparound booths. Clearly, the décor suggests swank, the illusion only shattered by pictures of the restaurant's namesake from his wrestling days. The drink menu includes a good wine list and features bottomless mimosas and poinsettias for weekend brunch. My wife enjoyed the latter, which was good but not great. Thankfully, my Signature Cabo Wabo Reposado margarita was more satisfying --better than some of the more highly-touted versions at other establishments.
Still, it was 14 bucks!
For one. At least, it was a jumbo.
The food was a bit hit and miss but overall, didn't disappoint. Best thing we tried was my Seafood Ceviche with Lump Crabmeat, a cool balance of fresh seafood, lime, and creamy avocado slices. Plus, it was impressively plated in an oversize goblet, if you're into that sort of thing. Seriously, rather than a boring split Chicken Caesar Salad with Ranch, fresh seafood sounded like a better summer lunch. And this time, the $17 price tag made more sense.
My wife didn't fare so well. Her Tacos Al Carbon was boring, also under-seasoned, although the fajita meat was quite good. She also thought that the table salsa was too ketchupy, but I found it spicy and addictive. We went through two bowls with our chips. I also found that they paired well with the very good platanos fritos (fried plantains) that were brought with my ceviche.
Service was friendly but spotty--we felt ignored for long stretches. The manager did stop by our table several times, making up for the occasional inattentiveness of the wait staff. None of this was enough was enough to dissuade us from returning--although maybe not for brunch and certainly not for brunch on a budget.
Cyclone Anaya's Mexican Kitchen
5225 Belt Line Road, Addison