Gloria's vs Mattito's: Margarita Massacre

Dallas has always seemed a little confused about margaritas--even though the cocktail was reputedly invented by a local (albeit during a Mexico vacation).

Perhaps it's just a misunderstanding of semantics. You see, 'cocktail' is generally a drink consisting of three or more ingredients, all of which either come through on the palate or somehow enhance one of the other flavors. A 'mixed drink,' on the other hand, uses fruit or Coke or another beverage to either completely or partially obscure the alcohol involved.

The margarita should be a cocktail. Most Dallas restaurants, however, treat it as a mixed drink.

For this week's toque to toque battle, I ordered the house version only--on the rocks. No top shelf. Nothing fancy. So...will the competitors come out fighting, or sissy slapping?

The Gloria's margarita can be cloying. Kindergarten sweet and spritely...maybe I should capitalize that...it lacks the alcoholic burn associated with, say, the hefty old-school cocktails you can special order at Javier's or Monica's.

On the plus side, however, you can discern the outlines of tequila in each sip--a grassy, smoky edge that, with a more robust pour (or a less potent lime mix), would balance out the sweetness. Unfortunately, the third element in a margarita--orange liqueur--fails to show on the palate.

Not the strongest performance...although certainly better than many of the drinks passed off as margaritas.

A restaurant more concerned with their bar program should pummel Gloria's. From the bell it was obvious, however, that Mattito's version would be more adept at dancing than throwing a solid punch. Although I watched the bartender splash a little dash of tequila across the top, only the musty-sour taste of lime juice left to sit in a container came through. Indeed, without test strips and a petri dish, I'd have a hard time proving the mixed drink contained any alcohol at all.

No buzz, no taste of tequila, no hint of orange. Just lime. And that adds up to a decision in favor of Gloria's.

An easy decision...although I must commend Mattito's on their glassware.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.