My family likes to hike, even the cantankerous three-year-old who pretends to lead a platoon (his mother and I) through Texas’ hilly wilds. Whenever and wherever we can, the three of us take to trails in search of animal tracks and “clues”—to what, the boy won’t tell us—in step behind our son who periodically commands us to “keep your eyes peeled, soldiers” or stop so he can take a picture with his toy Vtech digital camera.
After an easy hike at Cedar Hill State Park, we stopped for lunch at Plato Loco Mexican Cafe. The boy’s reward for behaving well was a crunchy taco—“no lettuce or cheese or chocolate”—while the missus and I grubbed on a trio of Tex-Mex standards. Aluminum piñata lamps and strands of Mexican folk art cut-out paper, papel picado, hanged from the ceiling.
The tacos al carbon were the usual, rolled bunch. However, they were unevenly seasoned. Some bites produced short bursts of salt and pepper. Others were bland, providing only chewy beef, dangerously close to being confused as petite razor strops. The side of guacamole on the platter helped a bit but not enough to make the latter anything more than OK.
Fifty-cent piece-sized shrimp had their pink and white stripes crossed by a wedge of warm avocado juxtaposing the briny crustaceans with the fruit’s fattiness.
The bramble of finely chopped brisket was topped with a knot of glistening onions. While the mediocre brisket, grayish brown interrupted by streaks of pink, displayed hints of roasting—but no smoke—that played well with the saccharine onion, the garnish had a dirty-griddle aftertaste.
A smear of Plato Loco’s signature Diablo Sauce, a thick queso-like concoction composed of sour cream, cream cheese and diced jalapeño kicked up the tacos and added much needed warmth to the lukewarm flour tortillas. Not surprisingly, the white salsa got everywhere: on the platter, on the table, on my cup of sweet tea.
Accompanying my platter of brisket and shrimp was a hillock of lettuce topped with a sprinkle of minced tomato and an orange cheese cap. Unfortunately, a helping of those elements to the brisket unfortunately cooled the taco’s components—and tempered my typical post-hike chipper attitude.
Like most Tex-Mex, the fare at Plato Loco is merely adequate, not the excellent fare of establishments like Jacala, Matt’s El Rancho and Desperados.Plato Loco Mexican Cafe
223 E. Farm to Market 1382, Cedar Hill 972-293-3663