Friday 25 Jul

Food briefs: You’re toast, er, pretzel

There’s a new food truck on the scene.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Upward mobility

Locals can have fresh microgreens and herbs for cooking in a new and convenient way. Microgreens, a chef favorite, are petite vegetable greens that add color, nutrition and flavor to dishes.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Vietnamese comfort food

I’ve always had a love affair with the refreshing, healthy cuisine of Vietnam. I love the fragrances, the fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, mint and other Asian herbs: perilla, Vietnamese coriander and sawtooth cilantro. And I love the contrast and balance in almost every dish: spicy vs. cool, salty vs. sweet and steamed vs. crispy.
07/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Cool places, cooler drinks

We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

New kids on the block

There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

07/16/2014 | Comments 0


Ah, the perils of working with special dietary needs. It can make dining out a pain. Luckily, with restaurateurs becoming more savvy to their diners’ needs, there are a bevy of places in OKC to satisfy your craving for the foods you love without losing taste. All choices this week have been road-tested by gluten-sensitive foodies to guarantee satisfaction.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Border town
Restaurant Reviews

Border town

Tasty, traditional south-of-the-border specialties mix with familiar, hearty Tex-Mex fare at Alvarado’s.

Doug Hill March 23rd, 2011

Alvarado’s Mexican Restaurant
11641 S. Western

above Maria Sanchez delivers fresh chips to from left Terry, Nikki and Linda Sanders.

Some places, the minute you walk in the door, there’s a good feeling. Alvarado’s is one of them.

It’s not a posh restaurant, but the two dining rooms are spotless and welcoming. Manager Rosa Torres greeted us with a smile before the door had even closed. Inside, the decor is tasteful, while not lavish. A shoulder-high wall displays an impressive collection of Christmas cacti; another, cutouts holding large colorful Mexican ceramic pieces. One room’s mural is painted to mimic hacienda windows looking out onto a Spanish colonial courtyard with a flowing fountain and garden. The illusion is naïve, but manages to be enchanting at the same time.

Once seated, our order was taken quickly, and service was attentive without being intrusive. The menu has been perfected over a long period of time.

“We’ve been in business here for 21 years,” said owner Carlos Alvarado, who has another location in Edmond, 1000 E. Second. “We’ve created our own specialties according to what our customers want.”

That equals original recipes from his birthplace in Mexico, tempered with the savvy that comes from working various metro restaurant gigs since 1956.

“Our food is not exactly like my mom, Teresa, used to make it back in San Luis Potosí, but it’s close” he said, adding that none of the food prepared onsite has been frozen or arrives in cans. “All our meals are prepared from scratch. There’s no canned chili here.”

One of the best of these home cocina-inspired dishes is tacos poblanos ($9.99). They start with two substantial house-made flour tortillas and fill them with your choice of beef or chicken. The tender, marinated meat has been sautéed with onions and poblano peppers. These peppers are not the “fouralarm” variety. Their flavor is mild, yet distinctive, and the secret to what makes the tacos so good.

The plate comes with a generous scoop of guacamole, sour cream and a bowl of frijoles machos — robust, ranch-style beans heavily infused with cilantro and onion, then simmered until their tastes mingle.

All meals start with crunchy tortilla chips and Alvarado’s salsa that walks the thin line between being too fiery or insipidly bland. It’s just right, with remarkable tomato and spice personality provided by an obviously experienced chef.

Mariano Carreon has been working in Alvarado’s kitchen for its entire two decades-plus. He has perfected guiso Mexicano ($9.49), Mexico’s answer to beef stew. Tender beef sirloin, tomatillo sauce, onion, jalapeño and cilantro are brought together in a spicy mélange. It’s served alongside frijoles refritos and rice. The entire dish is perfect for being scooped up together into a warm, fresh tortilla.

We’ve been here so long for a reason.

—Carlos Alvarado

“Our gorditas are very popular,” Alvarado said of the $10.29 dish similar to Latin American pupusas. The Mexican version is a thicker, seasoned masa-dough tortilla that’s grilled. They’re filled with either spicy ground beef or chicken, plus cheese and onions, with guacamole and pico de gallo served on the side. Alvarado’s guacamole is rich and tangy with a kiss of citrus.

Besides the standard sides, Alvarado’s features an uncommon one.

“I think we’re the only ones in town who has jalapeño rice on the menu,” Alvarado said of his version of Spanish rice, with an abundance of the minced pepper cooked with the grain.

Along with the Mexican specialties, there’s no shortage of customary Tex-Mex plates. Fajitas (single, $12.99; double, $21.99), beef or chicken chimichangas ($7.99) and crispy-shell tacos ($7.99) are available.

Although Alvarado’s competition includes dozens of other Mexican restaurants, the proprietor is not concerned.

“People can come, try us out and make up their own minds,” he said. “We’ve been here so long for a reason.”

Along with domestic suds, several Mexican beers are poured, including Pacifico, Modelo Especial and Tecate.

And don’t skip dessert. The feather-light sopaipillas ($1.29) are dusted with sugar and fragrant with cinnamon. The pillowshaped pastries may be ordered with a brandy-butter sauce that’s magnifico.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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