Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen

Busting out of a strip mall on Woodway, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen embodies the curtsy and flair of a Texican hacienda. Sylvia, herself, roams the place, checking on tables as her enormous turquoise earrings sway delicately along with her non-stop motion. She is the center of this colorful universe, mimicking the flavors of her youth in the Rio Grande Valley.

Start out, of course, with a margarita, limey and fresh. Avoid the bland tortilla soup, and instead try the plateful of fresh guacamole. Sylvia’s version is served with piles of diced tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos on the side so you can flavor it up to each person’s liking.

One would expect an “enchilada kitchen” to rule at enchiladas. But these are just so-so. Meats are fresh and well seasoned, but the sauce is where the dishes fall short. Portions are reasonable, though, rather than the hulking beasts you find at other joints around town, and not slathered with cheese. On the other side of the plate, pay close attention to your pile of rice lest it disappear at the hands of your dining partner... Jay Francis tells us that Sylvia actually employs an arrocero (read: rice guy) who is responsible for nothing other than making the rice, a lovely version of the traditional Mexican standard.

Looking past the enchiladas, fish tacos are a consistently solid choice: grilled or fried strips of tilapia stuffed into delicious housemade corn tortillas. What really sings, though, is anything made on the mesquite grill -- like beef fajitas, shrimp, and tilapia. Items arrive well cooked with a nice smoky flavor alongside a spicy set of poblano rajas in a creamy cheese sauce.

Sylvia’s is a bright and casual moderately-priced neighborhood joint, good for a night out with family or friends. It’s worth a stop if it’s on your regular route, but no need to go out of your way.

Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen - 6401 Woodway


Anonymous said...

I have been really enjoying following your posts. Being a teach and a foodie in Houston it is nice to see someone who also enjoys the great food we have here!

Ruthie Johnson said...

Hooray! Thanks for the comment and feedback, Ctbean. It's always nice to hear...