Cheap Bastard

Nueva Casita

Turquoise rings for sale in the restaurant count: 20

Free Three Wise Men bilingual storybook given to me on my way out count: 1

Driving back from Austin on Interstate 35, I saw a billboard that said, "Nueva Casita. Best Tex-Mex in Dallas." I was like, "Damn Nueva Casita—that's a bold statement." And Nueva Casita was like, "It's what I do. To quote a friend of mine, Does Advertising Work? Just Did." I had to check this place out.

It's behind the Half Price Books over there by Henk's. And I love the wienerfest that is Henk's, so we're starting off pretty good here. Nueva Casita is a modest little place. Looks like a Mexican restaurant's supposed to look inside, with its multicolored walls, tables that they obviously stole from a Chili's and wall mirrors galore. The hostess was super-friendly, and the menu was extensive. I saw a special on the board called chicken enchilada "soup." And since I'm a sucker for lunch specials that have quotation marks around them, I ordered it. (What do the quotation marks mean? Is the soup fake? Or are the enchiladas just really runny? Or is this just a really honest description of what their chicken enchilada dish will do to your poops?) I ordered a pork tamale à la carte, too.

The tamale came out about three seconds later, and if the waiter hadn't said, "Here's your tamale," when he put the plate in front of me, I would have thought he was just serving me a plate o' meat sauce. Luckily, I like me some meat sauce, and I also like digging for buried treasure on occasion, so forking around for my tamale in the meat lagoon was fun. Unfortunately when I did find the tamale, taste-wise, I couldn't say what it was like. I dunno—I think somehow the meat sauce overpowered it.

Another three seconds later, my "soup" showed up. Instantly I realized that the quotation marks meant, "This soup is watered-down queso sprinkled with some leftover chicken chunks.It's gross. You hate it." I attempted to extinguish the disaster in my mouth with the rest of my water (which never got refilled) and then waited for my check for a whole hour. It was the first time I'd ever taken a long lunch to go eat Mexican food. And it will also be the last time. Nueva Casita was charming, but for me the food was the unbestest Tex-Mex in Dallas.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade

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