by Steven Doyle
Cafe Herrera has been a Dallas institution for so many years as one of the proudest Tex Mex families, opening its first location in 1971 on Maple Avenue where you will find the iconic bar, The Grapevine. Since opening, the great grandmother and matriarch of operations retired (and since passed away) but not before issuing the various restaurants to family members.
Gil Bonifaz grew up at the knees of his great grandmother learning the restaurant business by washing dishes and eventually owning an incarnation of the family restaurant himself. It was Gil who was operating the location on Denton Drive that closed last year after losing his lease, but like a phoenix he made rise and now operates the gem of the family located at the downtown Dallas Omni Hotel.
Bonifaz takes great pride in the family traditions and recipes, and is eager to discuss his roots, but he also has a vision to bring Herrera’s into what you might find today on his menu. The old numbered dishes, such as our favorite 2C (two beef enchilads, taco, rice and beans is still to be found on the menu, just renamed after one of the streets where you would have found a Herrera’s in the past. Lemmon Avenue circa 1975 for those wishing to know what our favorite dish is now called.
In addition to the tried and true recipes Bonifaz has been sneaking in the freshest ingredients, locally source, as possible. Plus there are new items to be found includinmg taqueria style tacos, steaks and sopas have been added to serve an incredibly good version of Tex Mex to the tourist trade filing in and out of the Omni Hotel. Look for the impressive fajita bar as well. He is also offering a kicked up bar menu that astounded us on a recent visit.
Fresh juice margaritas, one with a salted foam floating atop the glass impressed us greatly. It will impress you as well. Simply delicious.
Bacon wrapped quail on black beans
But our visit was prompted by the news that Bonifaz was offering a special game menu to entice the conventioning Safari Club. Nothing too exotic, but enough to send us sailing down the Tollway for a sample. We enjoyed the bacon wrapped jalapeno and crea,m cheese stuffed quail, braised boar enchiladas, lamb guiso (heavenly), and bison brisket tacos.
Everything we tasted was on point and we encouraged the owner to add some of these items to the menu. That might just possibly happen as they quickly sold out of the quail dish.
For locals, you will want to check in at the downtown restaurant to enjoy this kicked up menu Herrera’s is offering. All the dishes, including the 2C, er Lemmon Avenue, were simply delicious but seemed to sport a fresher flavor than in the past.
God bless Herrera’s.