Cuchara is a Mexican bistro in Houston. It’s never achieved as much fame in the city or abroad as Chef Hugo Ortega’s nearby Hugo’s or his more recent Caracol but it’s stilll one of the best places in town to get upscale Mexican food from the interior. Unlike Hugo’s, which presents specialties drawn from many regions of Mexico, Cuchara focuses on the cuisine of Mexico City. It is particularly famous for its Comida Corrida, a prix fixe quick lunch, served in three courses. One of the featured dishes of the day is announced on Facebook at 11 am but there are choices for each course and the regular menu is also available.
Each diner gets a one liter jug of the agua fresca of the day and the jug remains on the table, pretty much ensuring you’re going to leave with a very full tummy. Today’s was cucumber and lime and I couldn’t finish mine.
For my first course I went with the Consomme de Borrego, with lamb, chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes and ancho chile. I think one of the other choices was chicken taquitos as I remember.
My main was the dish highlighted on Facebook today which drew me in, Tamal de Cazuela, a baked tamal with a filling of ground beef, slivered almonds, olives and raisins, dressed with crema. I got in very late for the Comida Corrida today and this had been pretty well dried out after being held so long. It should have been more moist and I’m sure earlier in the service it was but the smoky salsa helped. There was also a small cup of frijoles negroes refritos and queso fresco. One of the other choices today was Enchiladas Divorciamente.
There was also a desert course which I not only forgot to take a picture of, I can’t remember the name except it ended in de elote - yes, it was another corn cake, a sweet one this time. Fortunately it was much more moist than the tamal, with hints of dulce de leche and coconut.
The highlight of the meal was the consomme, not the best borrego in town perhaps but there’s never been one yet I’ve turned my nose up at. There is another tamal de cazuela on the regular menu but I don’t think I’ll ever order it.