(Article Updated 6/14/2017)
Last week, we visited El Bracero in Kingsland for lunch. El Bracero Mexican Restaurant has been around for about four or five years, and within the last two years, ownership has changed. I hadn’t been to the restaurant since the new owners took over, so I was eager to find out how the food tasted.
Prior experiences with El Bracero were excellent. Not only did we eat in several times, but we also called for take out. What I loved the most about El Bracero was an interior Mexican taste as opposed to Tex-Mex.
El Bracero is situated almost at the intersection of RR 1431 and RR 2900, smack dab in the heart of Kingsland. The building is unassuming. Long ago, this building housed a furniture and appliance store. Not much has evolved since. The interior is little more than a cleared out room with tables and booths scattered around. If you’re looking for decoration, glamour, or a sparkling clean eatery, you’re at the wrong restaurant.
But if you’re looking for fabuloso food and a great group of people who are eager to serve you, El Bracero is the place to be.
Here’s the deal: Focus on what works at El Bracero. You have to overlook the dirty floors and dining booths. And the oh-so ugly ceiling tiles.
This visit my daughter chose…drum roll…enchiladas! (Enchiladas are her fave so it’s no big surprise.) We arrived during El Bracero’s lunch special, so the Texas plate (two enchiladas, carne guisada, rice, beans, and guacamole salad for $6.99) was a great choice. I chose a lengua torta ($3.99) and the rajas with cheese ($6.99). This entree features tiny strips of beef cooked with slices of jalapeno and topped with Mexican cheese. The sides include beans, rice, and guacamole salad.
I ordered the rajas with cheese due to our server’s recommendation. I asked her what would be yummy to try and without hesitation, she began an animated discussion about how the dish was prepared and cooked.
She sold me on the dish, that’s for sure. I love it when servers know their menus. Kudos, El Bracero!
Fresh red salsa and chips come gratis with each meal. The salsa is good – not the best I’ve had – but certainly many steps above the Alamo Cafe. The chef cooks the tomatoes each morning, cools the mixture, then adds fresh onion, jalapeno, tomato chunks, and spice. The taste is a good blend and worth going back for.
We did not enjoy the chips. They were stale, and the worst part of our meal.
After digging into our food, which was served promptly, I offer the following comments.
The rajas with cheese were excellent. I’m not a big red meat fan, but the combination of beef strips grilled with jalapenos and topped with creamy, white cheese won me over. Don’t be afraid of too much spice with the jalapenos. The chilies were mild enough that my daughter could have eaten them.
We couldn’t have asked for better sides of refried beans and rice. Both were subtle in taste and exactly what you’d expect to find at a decent Tex-Mex restaurant. The guacamole was fresh, garlic-y, and sat atop fresh iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Good stuff!
I found the rajas to be best wrapped in a bit of corn tortilla and dipped in salsa.
Fresh veggies and well-cooked beef tongue made for a decent lengua torta. However, I prefer the lengua as a taco. The beef tongue was chewy and tough as opposed to soft and buttery. That said, I need to try the new owners’ tacos. I haven’t had a lengua taco since the new owners bought El Bracero.
Texas plate with chicken enchiladas.
El Bracero in Kingsland will see me again. I’ll try new things and pick the servers’ brains. And maybe I’ll get an interview with the elusive owners. I’ve tried to speak to them each time I’ve come, mentioning that I’m a writer/blogger, to no avail. Nonetheless, El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is good. Especially if you take the food home.
El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is located at 1516 RR 1431 in Kingsland, Texas 78639. The phone number is (325)388-0022. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Takeout is available.
This restaurant is something to explore. There are a wide variety of dishes available and while the choices are extensive, it works. You’re getting a taste of interior Mexico – this isn’t standard Tex-Mex fare.
Breakfast is served daily from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. You can order from the breakfast menu after 11 a.m. for an additional $1 surcharge.
During breakfast hours, order three breakfast tacos or one breakfast burrito for $2.99.
Lunch specials are served Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For $6.99 you get a plate with sides and a glass of iced tea.
Children’s plates are available for $3.99.