Johnny Hernandez, your vibrant colors have once again captured our hearts. Walking into El Machito, located in the Quarry on Jones Maltsberger, you’ll be greeted by the infamous sculptures that grace Hernandez’s two other San Antonio restaurants- La Gloria and The Fruteria. A vaquero sits on top of a horse and a luchador is seated near the entrance of the tequila bar, urging you to sit down and take a picture with him. Or perhaps paint a portrait of him.
The outdoor patio is large with a playground to provide entertainment to small children while you enjoy an el cantarito – tequila, fresh grapefruit, orange and lime juice with a splash of squirt and a pinch of salt. The quintessential drink of Jalisco.
Once you walk inside there’s a narrow seating area right next to the windows and if you take four more steps, you’ll enter the dining area with a full view of the meat cooking behind the kitchen. The restaurant specializes in mesquite-grilled meats including poultry, beef, seafood and select heritage pork.
The pale, yellow walls are embellished with colorful skeleton art, luchador heads and other traditional Mexican decor. The windows and doors are painted pink, yellow, blue and other bright colors that perfectly compliment the walls. It felt as though you were taking a small vacation from your life and once the food arrived, we really felt like we were on a vacation.
Alyssa ordered the enchiladas rojas – chicken enchiladas with roasted tomatoes and ancho chile sauce, queso manchego, queso fresco and cream. Instead of shredded chicken like most restaurants, El Machito’s enchiladas were filled with chunks of chicken and the melted cheese wasn’t overwhelming; you could easily cut into the queso with a fork.
Choosing sides was a difficult process. When you’re faced with choices like arroz del dia (rice of the day), elote con mantequilla o prepared (corn with cream, queso fresco, chile), frijoles charros (cowboy beans) amongst other scrumptious options, you have to think long and hard about what two sides you want to accompany your enchilada dish. Alyssa chose the arroz y elote which turned out to be excellent choices. The elote was a fancy version of corn in a cup.
I ordered the pollo asado. El Machito’s fresh chickens are marinated in a paste of Anatto seeds, dry chiles and spices and served with salsa, chiles toreados and corn tortillas. I also ordered a side of arroz and made amazing tacos with the chicken, chiles and tortillas.
El Machito’s entrees are quite pricey, but the quality of the food reflects the high price point and the open seating creates a relaxing atmosphere.
Have you been to El Machito? What did you order? We can’t wait to go back and order the queso flameado.