Let me tell you about a place that's won my endless love: Lisa's Mexican Restaurant on Bandera Road.
The space—soothing, modern and inviting. Warm, saturated jewel tones and walls bursting with bold original artwork by Brother Cletus set the stage for memorable food.
Lisa's pays homage to both Mexican and Tex-Mex. Comida estilo casero is elevated to exemplary status thanks to beautifully executed recipes, fresh ingredients and a respectful nod to tradition.
The menu features interior Mexican classics like Rajas con Crema. Roasted poblano pepper strips and sauteed onions swim in a silky, rich cream sauce. Lisa's sopes are the best I've had in Texas- fresh masa patties with a discreet slather of bacony refrieds.
One topped with earthy, piquant cubes of lean pork in perfect salsa roja, the other crowned with richly spiced papas with fresh chorizo. Both garnished with crisp lettuce, finished with queso fresco and drizzled with Mexican crema. I felt ""en casa"".
I also fell in love with Lisa's two excellent salsas- a vibrant, playful tomato serrano, or a rich, roasted jalapeño, onion and tomato number with slow, lingering burn.
Spinach enchiladas are benchmark. These espinacas are clean, vibrant and luxuriously draped in cream, sided with veggies and excellent, fluffy white rice.
Classic Tex-Mex enchiladas sing, and San Antonians voted the cheese enchiladas ""best in town"".
Lisa's borracho beans get bacon, fresh pico de gallo, beer and respect. Yes indeed, because the beans remain tender and whole at once, the broth eminently slurpable. These frijoles were also named ""best in San Antonio"".
There's a pattern here.
Pescado a la Veracruzana is lovely. The sauce, a well-balanced, complimentary blend of tomatoes, olives, peppers and spices doesn't overwhelm the mild fish fillets.
Tacos al pastor get an achiote marinade for a ""toque yucateco,"" rich, flavorful and alive with fresh cilantro, cebolla and pineapple. I was almost at the corner taquería in the DF, standing at an angle and biting my way to taco callejero heaven.
Oh, and the corn tortillas. The flour are righteous, but the corn...oh my Aztec gods.
Hand made, light, tender- hechas a mano. Great corn tortillas are hard to find in San Antonio, flour tortilla kingdom. Attention to craft and authenticity are the norm here.
Go to Lisa's. Eat your way thru the menu. Enjoy the attentive, warm service. Be a discerning Mex-Tex lover.
The server told me many of the regulars are fixtures- they eat here five and six times a week.
I smiled, not one bit surprised. I understood. I'm one of them now.
Pros: Named for best enchiladas, tortilla soup & borracho beans