Baja Sur brings chef-driven Mexican and Tex-Mex food to Creekside Park. We check them out.
Texans love Mexican food. The variety we usually find around here is Tex-Mex, the variation that revolves around the cuisine of Northern Mexico and Texas. Plenty of places offer it, customers love it.
But there is so much more to Mexican cuisine than Tex-Mex. Some establishments focus on the authentic cuisine of interior Mexico, but they often have trouble finding an audience. So what’s a foodie to do?
Enter Baja Sur. Located on Kuykendahl across the HEB lot from the Creekside Park Village Center, it’s a spacious, modern restaurant. Cool, sleek lines, but warm and welcoming. The main room is dominated by a wrap-around bar with an impressive armada of Tequila options on display.
But Baja Sur isn’t just another pretty room. This locally owned, chef-run restaurant brings together traditional Mexican cuisine with the incredibly popular Tex-Mex… a big task for even the most talented kitchen.
So how did they do?
On a series of visits over the period of one week, we sampled several items on Baja Sur’s nicely edited menu. (Oh, the sacrifices we make for you.)
We started with our two Tex-Mex benchmarks: Fajitas and cheese enchiladas. Go big or go home is definitely in play with Baja Sur’s epic Fajita Platter; a sizzling hot comal covered with a pound of beef fajitas, a pound of chicken fajitas, four large bacon-wrapped shrimp, and four pork ribs, all presented on a bed of grilled onions and peppers. The grilled meats were handled with a deft touch; nicely marinaded, perfectly cooked, and beautifully presented. This is a LOT of food, and would be perfect for two couples.
The Tex-Mex Enchiladas were a revelation. Two house-made corn tortillas enrobing a lush, melty, cheese blend, jazzed with a gently spicy red chile sauce, and finished with a superb chili con carne ladled atop these iconic enchiladas. These may be the best cheese enchiladas I’ve ever eaten, eclipsing even the masterpieces served at the late, lamented El Real on Westheimer. This dish is all about the balance, rich cheese, spicy chile sauce, hearty chili con carne. The result is a delicious, crave-worthy plate that I can’t wait to devour again.
The superb Tex-Mex enchilada forms part of a trio in the Mexican Flag enchiladas. One superlative Tex Mex enchilada is joined by a tangy roasted chicken enchilada, smothered with Monterrey jack cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and a richly savory avocado creme sauce. Between them is an earthy beef fajita enchilada, with onions, peppers, and crown of poblano mushroom cream sauce. The deftness and complexity of this dish is remarkable… but we keep going back to those flawless Tex-Mex enchiladas. This is a wonderful dilemma for an enchilada lover.
Poblano mushroom isn’t a typical sauce found in Tex-Mex places; it’s the first hint that Chef Coco’s talents lie beyond the typical. So it’s obviously time to explore some of her dishes that speak less Texan and more Mexican.
First up was a bright, tangy ceviche, This popular costal Mexican dish often varies from the traditional Peruvian version by the addition of a tomato sauce; Chef Coco’s approach marries the two, accenting the light citrus zing with a modicum of tomato, adding a red tinge but not eclipsing the fresh lime flavor. The result is a very good version that respects the culinary traditions of both cultures, while creating something that is distinctly her own.
Traveling from Mexico’s east coast to the west, we next sampled the Baja-style Blackened Shrimp Tacos. Perfectly blackened Gulf shrimp are dressed with napa cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, flawlessly fresh avocado, and finished with a gently spicy green sauce. The result tasted straight from Cabo San Lucas, and we really enjoyed this bright, fresh, spicy approach to the humble taco.
Next up was something completely different. The Fresh Mex Caprese Salad. This Insta-worthy plate was constructed with small, colorful, seasonal heirloom tomatoes, interspersed with bite-sized chunks of grilled queso blanco, finished with pico de gallo and a cilantro basil pesto. We’ve never eaten a Caprese like this one, and we really liked it. The incredibly fresh, flavorful tomatoes were balanced by the rich grilled cheese, and the result is as delicious as it is unique.
We were very impressed by this new, locally owned restaurant. In a market crowded with Mexican concepts, Baja Sur manages to stand out with both it’s sleek, inviting space and it’s outstanding, chef-created cuisine. It’s highly recommended, and we can’t wait to return.