November 30th, 2012 by Brian Schwartz – Comments (3)
A new Mexican restaurant has opened in Tulsa!! This announcement usually elicits more yawns than raised eyebrows. But Dex’s Mexican Grill stands head and shoulders above the rest. (Well, most of the rest.) Why? Perhaps it’s the daughter, Corine McGuire. She’s so committed, her mother explained, she comes in early each morning to roast the chiles, prepare the tomatillos, make the handmade chips that go with your salsa. Perhaps it’s the mother, RoseMary Brown. She presides over the bar and dining room yet took the time to praise her daughter to a stranger. Perhaps it’s Corine’s great-grandmother, Leedoma Wallace, who came up from central Mexico and settled in southern Texas. Perhaps it’s Leedoma’s children and grandchildren, living in Texas and Tulsa, who, though not Hispanic except for Leedoma, cherished her Mexican recipes and developed some of their own. It’s these recipes, a true blend of Texas and Mexico, that you’ll find on the menu at Dex’s.
It’s a homey little place, a dimly lit college hangout (it’s right near TU), the decor too a blend of Tex and Mex. There’s a big mural of Dex Brown, RoseMary’s son, who died in a car crash at the age of 24. His memory inspires Corine and RoseMary to excellence. And excellent it is. It’s just past 5 on a Monday evening, and already the place is crowded. Word spreads.
It’s a short menu. A few appetizers, including nachos, shrimp cocktail ($8), quesadillas ($8), chicken tortilla soup ($5), poblano-avocado cream sauce with chips ($5). We skipped those and went straight to the entrees, listed as “Authentic Family Favorites”. They have burritos ($8), tostadas ($6), street tacos, pepper steak tacos, enchiladas ($8) and chile verde ($8). We enjoyed the salsa, freshly made several times a day. It was better than average and laden with cumin. Then the chile verde came.
Chunks of pork were simmered in a stew that’s a lot like Mexican salsa verde. It had a bright sprightly flavor, lots of fresh herbs, all thanks to a blend of roasted jalapenos, tomatillos, garlic and cilantro. “The stew-like chili verde might win some chili contests I’ve judged,” opined Scott Cherry in the Tulsa World. Indeed it might though of course (as he knows) it’s not a traditional chili. It came with this.
Very good rice and beans and some tortillas to sop up the gravy. Meanwhile Cathe got enchiladas, made from one of Great-Grandma Leedoma’s original recipes.
Thick chewy corn tortillas filled with chopped beef and covered with a rich yummy sauce. I ate half an enchilada and I liked it. Meanwhile, Betty got chimichanga.
They have daily specials, such as fish tacos on Friday and chicken wraps on Tuesday. This is the Monday special. I didn’t get to try it but Betty assured me it was great.
From what they say about Dex, he liked really cool hangouts and he liked really good food. He would have loved this place.
Dex’s Mexican Grill
3148 E 11 Street (near Harvard)
Open 11 AM to 9 PM Monday through Saturday
Brian Schwartz: Author
Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com
I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.
“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.
Tags: Mexican Food