Brunch

Monica’s Tex-Mex Offerings Just Might Revitalize This ‘Unlucky’ Cedars Spot

This standard breakfast of huevos con chorizo ($10) is executed perfectly here.
This standard breakfast of huevos con chorizo ($10) is executed perfectly here. Taylor Adams
There are certain spots that seem like they’re unlucky for businesses. Take that little corner of Elm Street and South Malcolm X Boulevard in Deep Ellum, briefly the former homes of Junction, Twenty Seven and Kitchen LTO.

Another spot could arguably be 1326 S. Lamar St. in The Cedars.

There have been a number of stories about what was once Cedars Social, from when Justin Box took over the kitchen to when three powerful women took the reins.

Before all that, it was still Cedars Social, serving up a good prime rib special on Monday evenings. Chef turnover has happened (storied chef Anastacia Quinones is now at Jose in North Dallas), but it does have a new, though familiar name: Monica’s.

Monica Greene has kept control of this spot, which is now Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina. With the kitchen change, Greene has dipped more into Tex-Mex cuisine than classic Mexican — a safer move in a city feverish for Tex-Mex, but one that seems to be working, at least for brunch.

click to enlarge This standard breakfast of huevos con chorizo ($10) is executed perfectly here. - TAYLOR ADAMS
This standard breakfast of huevos con chorizo ($10) is executed perfectly here.
Taylor Adams
Starting with the guacamole ($8) is a good idea. A simple execution of the classic fits every criteria. The bloody mary here ($6) is one of the best we’ve had in a while, too. Dense and spicy, we felt compelled to order more than one.

If you’re going for eggs, you can find the chilaquiles ($11) that’s on every brunch menu, even if “Mex” isn’t in the restaurant name. The huevos con chorizo ($10) is just what you’d want. Well-scrambled eggs mixed with a decent chorizo are paired with some refried beans that are just short of magical. If all you came in for is a bowl of these beans, you’d leave happy.

La patrona enchilada ($12) is also a good go-to, with two chicken enchiladas, tomatillo salsa and fried egg, paired with black beans and cotija cheese.

click to enlarge The churro pancakes ($11) are large enough to share and give each of you a sugar coma. If you let that worry go out of your brain for the meal, you’ll enjoy every sweet bite. - TAYLOR ADAMS
The churro pancakes ($11) are large enough to share and give each of you a sugar coma. If you let that worry go out of your brain for the meal, you’ll enjoy every sweet bite.
Taylor Adams
If you’re up for dessert for breakfast, the churro pancake ($11) will fulfill your sweet tooth for the day, if not the week. Large enough to easily share, two pancakes are dusted with cinnamon and sugar, topped with a super-sweet cane sugar syrup and cajeta, a thick, dulce de leche-like syrup.

There's been a lot of turmoil at this location, but maybe it needed a name and menu change to break the trend. It’s got a cool vibe and a good location in an area easing along the upswing. Here’s hoping Monica’s will last a while.

Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina, 1326 S. Lamar St. (The Cedars). Brunch served 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.