#165 - Cristina's Fine Mexican Restaurant, Flower Mound TX

As I mentioned in my most recent The Week That Was post, over the weekend I went to visit my friends Joni and Tony in Flower Mound, TX.  I don't get to see them very often outside of football season, and I'll take any excuse to go to Dallas.  By the time I arrived at their house Thursday evening I was getting hungry. Their daughter and her fiance were in town, and their other daughter and boyfriend met us, so it ended up being a family dinner.  Well, family + 1.

We decided to go to Cristina's Fine Mexican Restaurant.  Joni and I had been there once before about 2 years ago, but I forgot to take pictures and notes.  So I'm counting this one as my first trip.

I thought this was the only location.  But it's actually a chain, with 12 locations around North Texas. The Flower Mound restaurant is only 5 minutes from their house, in a little strip mall connected to a gas station.  I always thought it seemed like a very odd place for a restaurant, but I guess it works. There's only a couple shops in the mall, and they are boutique stores.  So the packed parking lot is almost always for Cristina's. 

It was packed again Thursday night and the parking lot isn't huge, but we found a space. I'm not sure where you would park if there's nothing out front of the strip mall. The inside of the building is deceivingly large.  There's one section of the main dining room as soon as you walk in, with a full bar behind it.  There's another dining section to the left, and then the outdoor patio to the right.  I really like the patio. It's intimate and very relaxing.

Joni is a die-hard patio diner. I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of that Thursday night because it was so humid out and there's no cover; but I didn't want to go against the grain of the group. There are lots of fans on the patio so that does help the air flow. What it doesn't help though, are the flies.  Tons of them.  While we were waiting on our food we considered moving inside, but decided to tough it out.  I'm not sure that I would put up with that again though, because we literally spent most of our time swatting flies away. I want to be able to enjoy my meal, not fight flies for the food.

Of course, chips and salsa came out first

The salsa was excellent.  It had a little kick, but not too much.  There were chunks of onion and tomato, so you could scoop the salsa with the thin, light, and very crispy chips.

We started with tableside guacamole

There's nothing like homemade guacamole, especially when it's made fresh in front of you.  They can add more or less of whatever ingredients you want, and it's always nice and chunky.  Perfect for scooping.  We added jalapeno, and it provided a good kick. One portion was just enough for our group, even though I could have taken on the challenge of eating the whole bowl. But that would be gluttenous.

Candice got a side of corn tortillas

It came with about 10 tortillas.  I've never seen you get that many in a restaurant as just as side.  I guess our server did that so everyone in the group could have one. But it ended up being just me and Candice.  They're homemade and served warm.  I normally prefer flour tortillas, but I could eat these all day.

The menu is quite large, which is pretty normal for a Mexican restaurant. I decided to go with the Asada tacos
Chunks of tender grilled beef in corn tortillas with a cilantro-basil chimichurri sauce,
roasted red pepper & queso fresco
The tacos were excellent.  The meat was very well seasoned, and I like that it was chunks instead of ground meat.  The chimichurri had a very good kick and had a ton of flavor, including lots of garlic. They didn't put enough chimichurri on our tacos, so Tony asked for some more.  More chimichurri = more flavor.  The rice was pretty good, but I would have preferred extra guacamole. This guac was clearly the batch they pre-make throughout the day, but it was still really good. It just lacked the chunks. And there was a little bit of the tableside guac left so I used that as well.

I had ordered the borracho black beans, but they served me pinto instead. While I waited for my side of black beans I tried the pinto.  They have really delicious flavor, with a kick and chunks of pork.  Then my black beans arrived

These blew away the pinto beans.  And that's hard because the pinto beans were really good. Normally when you get black beans at a Mexican restaurant it's little more than just the beans. These were done borracho style so they much more flavor. I could have easily eaten a double bowl of them.  I can't figure out why people get refried beans when they can get borracho. There's no comparison between the texture and flavor.  

After we were done, they bring you these little after-dinner shots.  I'm not sure what's in them, but they are strong. And smooth. And delicious.

Will I go back? No question. I really don't know why we don't eat here more often.  It's so close to the house, the food is really good, and the service is prompt and attentive. The biggest challenge is that it's always crowded.