50 Most Interesting Restaurants

Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 2: Cuquita's

Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.

The greatest disservice to Dallas' culinary scene in recent memory was the closure of the original location of Cuqita's in 2008. The Henderson Avenue Mexican restaurant was open late, served great food and earned the affection of everyone with a penchant for refried beans.

While loosing the original location of a restaurant can really take the fire out of your salsa, the satellite locations remain open. Your disappointment need only last as long as it takes to drive to the outer edges of Dallas, or Garland, or Farmers Branch. As soon as you open the door and take one breath of masa-tinged air you'll feel just fine, and the food will be more than enough to keep your spirits lifted until you are safe at home again.

Who knew casual Mexican food could have such brightness, that burritos didn't have to be the size of your forearm and stuffed with so many ingredients each is lost in the noise? They're garnished with iceberg lettuce, which will remind you that we shouldn't shun the lowly salad green as much as we do -- it adds crunch and coolness to every bite it joins.

Who knew that a bowl of pozole could be this dark and mysterious and taste this good? Or that tortillas in restaurants such as these could be handmade? They're light and fluffy and arrive in a basket, gratis, along with the requisite salsa and chips. Grab a pat of butter and slather it over the tortilla while it's still fresh from the griddle. Now roll the glistening tortilla into a long cigar, and dip it into the viscous salsa that's warm in both spice and temperature. Take a bite. Things have changed now haven't they?

You're just a little more pissed off the original Cuquita's is no longer with us.

No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co. No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint No. 47: Taj Chaat House No. 46: Mot Hai Ba No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 42: Mughlai No. 41: Russian Banya No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria No. 38: Carbone's No. 37: Babe's No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 35: Zaguan No. 34: Royal Sichuan No. 33: Spoon No. 32: Bambu No. 31: Pecan Lodge No. 30: FT33 No. 29: Keller's Drive-In No. 28: La Pasadita No. 27: Ten Bells Tavern No. 26: El Ranchito No. 25: Cafe Urbano No. 24: Nova No. 23: Jeng Chi No. 22: Omi No. 21: Tei-An No. 20: Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 19: Yutaka and Sharaku No. 18: Local No. 17: Ibex No. 16: Pakpao No. 15: Chennai Cafe No. 14: Smoke No. 13: Nonna No. 12: Kuby's No. 11: Sushi Sake No. 10: La Banqueta No. 9: Kalachandji's No. 8: Mesa No. 7: Teppo No. 6: Stampede 66 No. 5: Crossroads Diner No. 4: Bolsa No. 3: Lalibela

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz