Tex-Mex makes its way to the Denton historic square
*Originally in the June 11, 2014 Issue of The Lasso*
By: Alex Ancira, Managing Editor
Denton’s historic square may have a lot, but it certainly doesn’t have everything a Dentonite could wish for in a night out on the town. Luckily, one more item can be crossed off the list as a sit-down Tex-Mex restaurant has taken a spot on the square in the form of Café Herrera.
The restaurant is part of a local chain from Dallas, easily accessible from the DART lines. A huge plus for the Denton location is how spacious the inside feels after entering. Yes, there are many tables for different parties to be waited, but overall there’s a comfortable openness that makes it easy to relax and enjoy the food and festivities. The atmosphere for the restaurant is modern in look and feeling, which suits the location. With a somewhat industrial use of stone flooring and simple woods, the restaurant boasts a contemporary chic vibe, adding a new type of internal appearance along with a different cuisine to Denton’s square.
Now we move on to the most important aspect: the food. First off, the food is not incredibly expensive for a sit-down restaurant. Across the square, you could easily go to The Abbey Inn or Lone Star Attitude Burger Company and spend about as much without trying. Second, the service is really fast and helpful, with waiters that seemed concerned about how everything was and whether I needed more chips and salsa or more to drink. The portions are definitely hardy and leave enough food at the end of a meal to take some home for another time. The salsa is an extremely wet blend of standard salsa stock (tomatoes, cumin, paprika, onion) and fire-roasted garlic that adds a pleasantly stingy bitter flavor to the courtesy appetizer.
The enchiladas, which could be considered one of the Tex-Mex staples, were excellently fried and topped with smooth creamy cheese. The quesadillas were also excellent, comprised of a blend of cheeses melted into hardened flour tortillas and cut for convenience. What really seemed to make Café Herrera worth checking out is the freshness of the ingredients. Tex-Mex is all about the flavors and how they blend together for a cohesive and distinguishable taste, and Café Herrera hits that concept on the nose.
The best aspect of Café Herrera is what the restaurant brings to Denton’s historic square. With a frozen yogurt shop, a community theater, pizza place, a few bars, a british pub, an ice cream shop, comic shop, record store, and a used book store built in an opera house, Denton’s square is easily one of the most diverse night life spots in the DFW area. Throw a Tex-Mex restaurant into the mix and, well, it doesn’t get much better.
Compared with off-the-square Tex-Mex fixtures of Denton such as El Guapo’s, Herrera Café (confusing, I know), Rusty Taco and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Café Herrera is very middle of the road. The pricing is fair and what you might expect for a sit-down restaurant, offering food that is fresh and good but not necessarily great.
They don’t have the best tacos (Fuzzy’s or Rusty come to mind) or the best enchiladas or tamales (that goes to Herrera Café), but they certainly are very good for the price you pay, especially when put next to On the Border or any other major chain. Come out to Café Herrera if you’ve been craving Tex-Mex that doesn’t require leaving Denton’s night life for even a second to get to.