6129 W. Main St., Frisco
There's one key difference between the original Dallas operation and its Frisco counterpart: location.
And before you finish that "no shit, Sherlock" response, allow me to explain. In this case, location refers to mindset more than anything else. Mattito's famed Uptown restaurant is neatly camouflaged by other structures and thus nearly invisible from the street. Besides, the confluence of Cedar Springs, Cole and Routh leaves little opportunity to look around for landmarks...without risking an increase in your insurance premiums, anyway.
In the jumble of Uptown and its environs, "hidden gems" are attractive. Obvious spots, like the one recently occupied by Nick & Sam's Grill, sometimes have a history of changing hands while those slightly off the beaten path--Lola, Arcodoro & Pomodoro, State & Allen Lounge--survive without much fanfare. Yeah, Arcodoro is moving, but that doesn't invalidate the point: tucked away spaces can fare pretty well in the urban oasis.
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Out in the fast moving 'burbs, however, people value easy access and visibility. Maybe this has something to do with distances, or the demands of work, kids and swinger's clubs. Yeah, it's a bit of a generalization. But whether as a result of zoning of an understanding of the market, few suburban joints choose to open on hidden cul-de-sacs.
Compared to the original, Frisco's Mattito's sits in a prime spot. Across the street is Pizza Hut Park, home of FC Dallas and larger drawing cards, such as concerts. Down the road, city hall and the public library. Nearby, the tollway promises to feed traffic from other locales.
Otherwise, it's a brighter, cleaner facsimile. That means salsa wavering nicely between earthy and hot, rather typical Margaritas, surprisingly solid enchiladas, too sweet mole, crispy tacos and so on. The chicken slathered in mole has been pounded flat and grilled until a checkerboard of intensely bittersweet scars emerge. Cheese enchiladas hold just enough tang to offset the grounded swell of meaty sauce--reasonably good and very familiar Tex-Mex with a nice patio and plenty of free parking.
Not worth a drive from anywhere south of Legacy, perhaps. But for those streaming out of the stadium wanting something help them blank out the memory of another pathetic FC Dallas performance...