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Aldaco's Is The Best Mexican Restaurant In America. And it's not close. They beat their competition in every category. Their soups alone are worth your visit. A bowl of one of their soups is a meal in itself. We no longer allow ourselves to order soup for an evening appetizer because it fills us up and precludes the rest of the meal. We order it now only for lunch, when it can be the whole meal. The salsa they serve with their chips is outstanding. Their Avocado Margarita is the finest mixed drink in Texas and maybe the country. Everybody serves beans and rice, and they all have similar dry, bland tastes. Aldaco's are so tasty customers ask for more, or ask for the recipes. Rellenos are on every Mexican menu, but Aldaco's offers four kinds instead of just one, and their Vegetable Relleno and Relleno de Cameron (seafood relleno) are unequalled by any other restaurant. Fajitas are a fairly simple item, and it's hard to fix them any different than the basic style, but Aldaco's manages to do it. The Enchiladas and salads are outstanding. And, even if you have to leave some food on your plate uneaten, you must leave room for dessert, because the Tres Leches (vanilla three milk cake) here is the outstanding restaurant dessert in America, edging out the Dolphin Den (NC)'s Key Lime Pie.
Even the waiters here are a cut above. They know not to bring the main course until the diner has finished the soup or salad, a simple enough instinct, but one apparently beyond waiters at 90% of all restaurants. (We've read of a few reviewers having negative experiences but we've certainly never had one). And the facility is beautiful. Al Daco's is in Sunset Station, surely one of America's most beautiful and historic railroad passenger depots. Specifically, Al Daco's occupies part of the Baggage Wing, looking out on the AlamoDome. You can eat indoors or out. From the Crockett Hotel, follow Crockett Avenue eastward, turn right one block to Commerce Street, follow it under the interstate, and turn right on Hoefger. One reason for the unique taste of Aldaco's is the founding family is from Guadalajara, where most Mexican restauranteurs are from parts of Mexico further North and West. You might want to go early in the evening, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Aldaco's has its loyal following and can get very crowded.
One of the great things about Aldaco's is the Mexican cooking lessons owner Blanca Aldaco offers on selected mornings. We actually email ahead when planning our annual San Antonio trip and try to line upo our dates so we can catch one of these per year. She is a very dynamic speaker and a charming lady and you pick up a lot of insights into Guadalajaran culture and cuisine along the way. The lessons vary, but recurring topics cover Avocado Salsa, Enchiladas Verdes, TexMex Enchiladas, Perfect Margaritas, and every so often the famous Tres Leches Cake she has won so many awards for. Now that Blanca has opened a second location, in the suburbs at Stone Oak, she's stretched a lot thinner, and does not offer the lessons as often as before. But they're still worth checking into and scheduling your vacation around. It's especially neat to find out ahead of time what she's covering, eat there the night before and order those items, then come the next morning and learn how they're prepared. She built the restaurant's reputation by insisting on all food being prepared from scratch using old family recipes, and learning how to pattern your own cooking after the Aldaco kitchen is fascinating, even though you can never quite match either Blanca or the talented chefs she hires.
Loyal Aldaco's customers argue about what the best menu items are but the Avocado Margarita (right) is certainly one of them. If you order a Partida Margarita they will make it in front of you at your table. The Tacos el Pastor are really popular among locals. They are taquitos filled with marinated shaved (or sometimes cubed) pork, lime wedges, onions, cilantro and salsa de la senora. Blanca's personal signature dish is the Pollo al Chipotle, a grilled chicken breast topped with crema al chipotle. Pescadito Aldaco is pan seared tilapia with grilled shrimp on a bed of sauteed spinach and rice in a chile arbol garlic butter sauce. The Relleno de Camaron is a basic roasted pablano pepper filled with queso chihuaha and grilled shrimp over crema cilantro. Our own vote goes to the Pescadito Aldaco.
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