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Josh

Skinny Rita's Grille - Health-Conscious Tex-Mex in the Heights

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As much as I try to be a booster for neighborhood places, I can't go all out for Skinny Rita's.  I'll admit to being put off by the name, but they were named by Thrillest as one of Houston's "Most Underrated" Tex-Mex joints, and called a "Hidden Gem" by Eater.  They also have a multi-level patio with a nice view of downtown, and happen to be pretty close to my house.

The margaritas are set apart by having only 150 calories...I prefer more calories apparently.  These were unbalanced - too sweet, with no tequila edge that my favorite versions have.  Cristina's carnitas tacos came with limp store-bought corn tortillas filled with a fairly dry roast pork any one of us could make in our home oven from a NYTimes.com recipe.  If that sounds harsh, it's meant to be.  Carnitas are an actual thing, and I get annoyed when people call any pork-based taco "carnitas."  My beef fajitas (half off on Wednesdays) were passable, but suffered from sitting for over 5 minutes until the accompanying (store-bought) flour tortillas arrived.   '

Queso was par for the course for non-Texas versions but way behind the curve for Houston.  A trio of salsas were actually great: a mild tomatillo, smoky chipotle, and moderately hot habanero.  The green-colored chips are apparently made from cactus rather than corn, but come off as standard tortillas. 

The bottom line I took away from Skinny Rita's is that this might be a successful suburban chain in the Midwest, but for a Tex-Mex joint in Houston, it is far from a gem, and certainly not underrated.  If I'm in the Heights looking for Tex-Mex, you'll find me sticking to Teotihuacan from now on. 

(BTW, there are a number of claims on the menu regarding "organic," "healthy," ingredients, etc. but importantly, I saw no mention of sourcing for said ingredients.  Caveat emptor.)

 

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