The al pastor plate at Montealban
When you sit down at Montealban Mexican Restaurant, the breakfast and lunch spot on Nacogdoches Road, you're greeted with chips and three separate salsas, each a gorgeous color. The fresh salsa is a bright red with flecks of green chile and plenty of black pepper to give it an extra kick. The green salsa packs its heat in bold, unapologetic splendor. The roasted red chile salsa is slick mix of heat and oil that adds smoky depth to whatever you spread it on.
Caldo de res at Montealban
One bite of each made me glad to have found the place.
Sure, the menu is packed with old favorites, from a vegetable-packed caldo to a chile relleno, but you might be surprised as how bold and pristine the flavors are.
Let's start with the breakfast tacos, which are much fatter than I generally find at area taquerias. That means you get a lot of egg flavor in each bite. I prefer them rolled in corn tortillas, perfectly pressed, thick and steaming hot to the touch. The bacon is plentiful, too; the chorizo is well drained; and the country sausage managed to maintain its sizzle. At a cost of $2.31 for three, they really can't be beat.
At lunch, the $4.99 daily specials are a fine place to start, whether it's the chopped beef in the Steak a la Mexicana plate on Friday or Thursday's al pastor plate with nopalitos and plenty of onions and cilantro on top.
The caldo de res was chock full of vegetables, including a sweet amount of cabbage, my favorite, plus carrots, potato and zucchini as well as a healthy amount of the beef that flavored the stock.
Every visit I've tried something new and have not been disappointed with any dish. I just wish the dice of the potato in the picadillo mix stuffed inside that filling chile relleno were a little smaller — and if that's all I have to complain about, that's saying something.
Steak a la Mexicana at Montealban
The place is bright and friendly, if a bit nondescript in decor. What the owners saved on design, they seem to pass along in prices, such as $4.99 for all the menudo you can eat on a Saturday. But it's the care with the food, not the price, that will have you returning for more.
Montealban Mexican Restaurant
3261 Nacogdoches Road
Breakfast, lunch Monday-Saturday