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
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
In a city filled to the brim with Tex- Mex joints and taco trucks, Diego’s trumps all with its authenticity, freshness and cleanliness.
“We think the food is fresh and very good,” she said. “You can come and taste everything fresh.”
Generally a meal at a Mexican restaurant starts with chips, salsa and queso. Add warm, freshly made flour tortillas, and you’ve got yourself nearly a full meal before you even order. Diego’s doesn’t stray from this classic start-up, and rightfully so. Their take on the complimentary appetizers is just about as good as it gets. The salsa obviously is freshly made and has a delicious mix of flavors. It’s not overly spicy, although it certainly has a kick. The queso is creamy and warm, and mixing it with the salsa and crispy tortilla chips was a great introduction for the coming meal.The appetizers are very reasonably priced. My dining guest and I ordered a large guacamole ($5) and Chavelitas Flautas ($8). The guacamole was pretty standard: a fresh mix of avocados, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Although the recipe was nothing new, the it was nothing short of delicious. The flautas were tightly wrapped tortillas packed with shredded beef, and then fried until perfectly crisp. They were served with another scoop of guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and pico de gallo. The soft, flavorful beef combined with the crispy tortilla provided a good texture and great taste.
After the delicious appetizers, it was time for our entrees. My guest chose vegetarian fajitas ($11) for dinner, and I ordered the Tacos Aguascaliente ($12). The veggie fajitas included the typical onions and bell peppers, but also added carrots, potatoes, broccoli and even cauliflower. They were served with the always-delicious combination of guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. The well-cooked vegetables, mixed with the fresh condiments, made for an excellent taste.
For the Tacos Aguascaliente, you can choose from pastor (pork), asada (steak) or beef tongue. I wanted to try all three, but since they were out of beef tongue, I went with two each of the others. The pastor tacos are fantastic. The meat was chewy, but flavorful, and went well with the accompanying lettuce, tomato, cilantro and avocado. The asada is much more tender, but equally flavorful, especially combined with the other ingredients.
Both of our dishes came with refried beans and rice that were nothing too extraordinary, but tasty nonetheless. My meal also came with freshly grilled jalapeños and caramelized onions, which were both especially delicious mixed in with the rice and beans or thrown atop the tacos. The portions were huge, and we both went home with leftovers.
We closed our meal with complimentary sopaipillas: the perfect cap to a delicious dinner.
According to Pasillas, the most popular dishes are Diego’s special ($14) and Carlito’s special ($10). The former includes beef tips with salsa verde, a tamale, a flauta and an asada taco. The latter is a grilled chicken breast topped with cheese, grilled jalapeños and onions.
Some of the menu prices seemed steep at first glance, but after tasting the food, the prices seemed more than fair. This is especially true considering the complimentary chips, salsa, queso, tortillas and sopaipillas.
Diego’s ambience and service also are worth noting, showing that food is not their only priority. The restaurant is very clean, from the dining area to the bathrooms, and this made the food seem that much better. The lighting is somewhat dim, and Mexican music softly sifts through the airwaves. The walls are filled with decorations, providing a nice cultural presence. The waitstaff is more than helpful and very willing to explain any dishes on the menu.
hard to say how many Mexican spots there are in the metro area, but
Diego’s stands tall as a great option for anyone searching for a
traditional meal in a friendly environment.
Photo by Mark Hancock
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.