A recommendation from a friend brought Elizabeth and me to El Bolero, a restaurant tucked between Oak Lawn and the Design District.
I had low expectations as we pulled into the tiny parking lot. The first thing we noticed was the valet parking for a fairly small parking area. After laughing about this and parking our own car, we made our way inside. Given the many mediocre Mexican restaurants in Dallas, I was skeptical when first walking up.
Giant wood doors welcome you into the restaurant, which features colorful accents like yellow barstools and red umbrellas. The glorious fall day led us onto the patio, which had a beautiful floor of concrete and grass and a mural featuring a farmer by the bar. Mini cacti adorn the tables for a desert feel.
Once we were seated, a runner immediately brought over a pitcher of water, as well as chips with house salsas. The chips were seasoned, giving them an added zest, separating them from ordinary tortilla chips.
Our waiter, Carlos, convinced us to try the Sage Margarita, a drink with normal tequila and triple-sec liqueur with cilantro, sage, pineapple, lime and agave. Their drink menu seemed extensive and included a more traditional margarita alongside their signature cocktails. Though we joked with the waiter about free refills, he laughed but did not oblige. Drinks ranged from $5 to $13, from beer to a signature cocktail.
Though various queso dishes and enchiladas caught my eye, I ordered the Ribeye Steak y Chorizo taco served on a blue corn tortilla which included ribeye, chorizo, red chili pepper, garlic, Oaxaca cheese and peppers. The guacamole and cheese complemented the tender steak.
Elizabeth ordered the Pollo con Chipotle y Cacao taco, which featured pulled chicken in a light pomegranate sauce with avocado and pickled onions. I personally did not like this taco, as the pomegranate hints added nothing to the chicken.
Both dishes included rice that was lightly, though fully, flavored with a lime-cilantro pesto. The food tasted fresh and was not overly filling.
Even though they do not take reservations, they accept calls to be placed on the waitlist 30 minutes in advance. However, at lunchtime, we were seated immediately. They also have an extensive brunch menu served from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. on the weekends.
Overall, this restaurant made for a great experience and reminded me of Austin-esque Tex-Mex rather than Dallas.
1201 Oak Lawn Ave. #160,
Dallas TX, 75207
Monday — Thursday: 11 a.m. — 10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. — 10 p.m.