Blocks away from Capitol Hill, Tortilla Coast is a Mexican restaurant that has become a favorite gathering spot for politicians after work. But its elaborate menu, inexpensive prices and friendly service draw a family crowd, too.
I visited Tortilla Coast on a rainy weekday night. Within what seemed like seconds of entering the vibrant restaurant, which was festively adorned with multicolored paper decorations, I was ushered to a table and treated to chips and spicy salsa. I consider myself quite the tortilla chip expert, and these exceeded my expectations. They were warm, not too salty, not too greasy and had the perfect crunch.
For an appetizer, my friends and I treated ourselves to not one but two orders of guacamole and pico de gallo. Having eaten at a number of restaurants in California and Mexico, I have high standards when it comes to guacamole and expected a little more spice. Still, it was tasty, with just the perfect amount of lime. The restaurant also offers four different kinds of chile con queso (all for less than $7), two different types of nachos and classic tortilla soup.
Next came a plate of sizzling chicken fajitas, which, for about $14, were among the best I’ve had. The chicken was very tender and the marinade was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Tortilla Coast also makes all of their tortillas by hand and I could taste the difference: they were softer and fresher than tortillas I’ve tried at other restaurants.
Other entree options include tacos, burritos and enchiladas you can build yourself. The restaurant also offers some traditional Texas dishes for less than $17 like barbecue ribs and chicken-fried steak. The woman at the table next to me got the barbecue brisket, which smelled smoky and tangy, and is definitely something I’ll have to try next time.
For dessert, we devoured a $7 plate of warm cinnamon sugar churros dipped in hot chocolate. When I return, I’ll make sure to order one of their fried Twinkies. Inspired by the Texas State Fair, the dish is battered, fried and served with caramel sauce.