Openings and Closings

Quesa, the New Tex-Mex Gem in Oak Lawn, Pays Respect to the Taco's Quieter Cousin

No, not the molten-hot processed cheese-food-liquid queso. Quesa is the new restaurant that opened last month on Cedar Springs Road in the Oak Lawn neighborhood. It offers tacos served on freshly made corn tortillas -- the flour tortillas are purchased pre-made -- and lesser-known quesas. It's the quesas that got my attention.

Fresh dough that might otherwise have become a tortilla is stuffed with all sorts of fillings, carefully folded in half and crimped. After having been properly sealed, the package is dropped into bubbling fat where it remains until golden brown, slightly greasy and crisp.

You can choose between cheese, beans and several meats, including brisket and carnitas. The quesa pictured above is filled with tiny cubes of soft potatoes and chorizo. After your choice emerges from the oil, things get even better, when small cups of sour cream and a green salsa jump into the fray. Sitting down to a meal of seven or eight of these might be a fine way to spend your evening.

Quesa is definitely hoping you'll stick around. Despite the set-up -- a queue that guides customers past the glassed-in kitchen to a register where they can place orders -- the restaurant is full service. Not only is there a wait staff but there is booze, and lots of it. Drinks take up nearly half the menu before they spill onto another card in the form of specialty tequilas. There's a television the size of a minivan hanging from the ceiling, often flickering with images of futbol.

There's flan for dessert, if you've saved some room, and a patio out front, in case you want sun on your face as quesa drips down your chin.

Quesa, 3900 Cedar Springs