Monday, July 6, 2009

Paco and John - Dinner

I have a secret. I have a crush. A restaurant-crush. If you've read this blog before, and the quotes in the Fort Worth Foodie magazine, you've probably picked up on my hints. Or maybe you don't sit around all day thinking about me and my thoughts. For those of you that do, you know my secret.

I have a crush on Paco and John, Mexican Diner.

I'm afraid to tell it because it might reject me. But I can't stop staring at it and driving by just to see if its with somebody else. It always is. Maybe its just a tease. But whenever I go in, its so nice to me. I think I'm in love. That awkwardly named place has stolen my dining heart.

You've already had a chance to read my review on the lunch and breakfast at P&J. But now I've got a review of dinner for you.

My other love, Mrs. "Not a restaurant" and I went to Paco and John's for dinner recently on the advice of me. It was her first trip but my second. That day. She was intrigued because of all she had heard. Our friends had promised her that it was delicious and I wasn't just making this up for some elaborate joke. To be honest, I almost had to hide my secret crush. Can you imagine that, keeping a secret, like a crush, from your wife?

If you haven't been at dinner, the menu is different from their lunch menu. That's important to know because if you're going for all of the delicious lunch options, you have to select from the delicious dinner options instead.

But more importantly (for those of us that work during the day), at dinner you can get away with drinking with your meal. Conveniently, there is a gas station next door that sells beer. Rumor has it that they've seen an increase in the "single-beer-buyer" market. I doubt that. I imagine their "single-40oz-buyer" market has been strong for awhile. The "single-yuppie-beer-buyer" market has probably increased ten-fold. So, if you don't feel comfortable having a drink in front of your coworkers, go at dinner because some of these entrees just need a good cold mexican beer or a glass of wine.

Now, about our meal. We started with the queso to go with our chips and salsa. The queso was creamy with a very nice spice. Definitely worth a try if you're a queso-ficianodo.

My meal was the red snapper cooked in a guajillo sauce and served with sauteed bell peppers and onion slices. The red snapper was a large fillet served on a plate in the sauce and covered in the veggies. Each bite was a delicious scoreboard over what my wife ordered. The red snapper was a great dish that had a casual feel, but was really well prepared.

She ordered a chicken with a banana/avocado stuffing. She wasn't a huge fan of the texture - it was thick and creamy, but with little chunks, and tasted like bananas and avocado.... The chicken, however, was cooked great and the meal was prepared wonderfully. She was hooked, despite this setback, and has since made a return trip for lunch. She had the salmon tortas at lunch and says they get two thumbs up. She also offered to trade me for a bag of chile-lime potato sticks.

The two entrees and appetizer cost about $30. That's a bit high for a normal hole in the wall. But, for a place like this, it's a steal. Plus, if you don't like the dinner prices, go at lunch when prices are under $10 for a meal plus tip. Or go somewhere else.

I would suggest that you all try Paco and John's for dinner, but I can't stand to see more of you with it. That just breaks my heart and I don't want to wait in a line just to experience my favorite street tacos, tortas, guacamole, or red snapper dishes. Oh well, it probably wouldn't like me anyways. Some popular kid in the food-review world has probably already caught its heart. Ciao Baby or Bud Kennedy has probably already taken it to a movie and invited it to prom. Well, Paco and John will soon realize that I'm better in the long-run. Until then, Mrs. "Not a restaurant" will do. I hope she doesn't read this.

If you haven't been, you're obviously not a serious FWHITW reader. Stop dragging your feet and try this place out. Everybody I've taken loves it and has gone back numerous times. But what would they know, they are just tons of people that have good taste....

Let me know what you think.

Paco and John is at 1116 8th Avenue and their website is on my link list.


Michael Bourgon said...

Already been, so I won't be adding further to your wait - I'm already factored in. :)

Dinner: yup, totally different than lunch. Took my wife, expecting cheap and quick and good. Got quick and expensive and good, not what I was expecting, but I'll cope.

The green mole is awesome, the wife said the enchiladas were "fine", but the queso was fantastic.

Definitely going back.

callie said...

I have only been to breakfast (loved the breakfast torta) and lunch (carnitas torta was flavorful but a bit dry) but still havent made it to dinner yet.

I also heard from other diners that they spent $50 for dinner for two- pretty steep.

Also, has there been a problem with A/C when you've gone? Its been sweltering two out of the three times I've been.

Ashley said...

We were disappointed in the dinner that we had here. The Tacos, Tortas, Burritos sign was what had called us in. So the dinner menu was not what we expected. The crab queso fundido was extremely fishy tasting and smelling, not appetizing at all. I will go check out your breakfast and lunch review and maybe give them another shot. I won't be in that dinner line though.

Kim said...

I've only been once for lunch. The server was incredibly helpful and attentive. I'd give the service an A+. I enjoyed a fish taco (yummy but I think I prefer Yucatan or Fuzzy's) and a shrimp quesadilla. The shrimp quesadilla was awesome! I guess it wouldn't have been anything but ordinary except the shrimp they used in the quesadilla were HUGE AND TASTY! Those prawns made it extraordinary. If I could just get those in a taco (I bet I can) I would skip the whole flour tortilla and cheese thing. I also remember the flan was very good. It was a good experience. I'll have to try it again for dinner. Thanks for your review, FWHITW.

Stephanie said...

Mr. Fort Worthology and I went there for dinner a while back. I had the nachos and they were good, but I was disappointed that their dinner menu did not have the vegetarian options the lunch and breakfast menu have. The nachos were only vegetarian because I asked them to leave the meat off.

Still, though, I love their lunch, and I want to try breakfast. Maybe next time I go to dinner there they'll have a few more options. I think when we went it was during their soft dinner openeing, so maybe they were still tweaking things.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

The prices are steep at dinner. I could see spending $50 but I think you would have to try and do that. For me, the expensive food at dinner is a fair trade off considering how cheap lunch is.

Kim, I agree that a shrimp taco is in order and would be very popular. Or maybe even an enchilada... Hint Hint P&J....

Stephanie, I have heard that their lack of vegetarian options at dinner has bothered others as well. Maybe they'll add the chili relleno or vegetable taco as an a la carte option for dinner.

At least we can all agree that lunch is affordably priced and delicious. Personally, I like that they dress the menu up at night. It gives me a new set of options to try. Plus, I've been so much I've had almost everything on the lunch menu.

Thanks for all the comments.

M-Rod said...

Went for dinner there on Friday and the place was packed. I would say that the food was good - had the mar y tierra (steak and shrimp). The shrimp was wonderful (I could have had a whole platter of that) and the steak was good. But the portion size was small, especially for the price. The queso was excellent as was the salsa.

Our waiter asked us if we were ready to order about 4 or 5 times with a minute in between each time, almost to the point where we were wondering what the rush was (I guess table turnover). We also noticed how hot it was in there. We weren't sure if the A/C was even on.

I like the lunch menu better than the dinner menu (more variety, and more of what you expect)but it was still worth the visit.

Elliot and Co. said...

hey I love your blog.. pretty awesome. looks like you haven't reviewed this place but I was wondering if you have ever heard of nonna tata on magnolia? if yes have you heard good or bad?

Anonymous said...

hi... just dropping by!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

M-Rod, I think you share the same sentiment as most of the people I've talked with. Lunch seems to be everybody's favorte, with breakfast second, and dinner third.

Elliot and Co, no I have not been to Nonna Tata and it haunts me everyday that I don't go. I have every intention of going but never get there. I have been promising that I would go for the last year and a half so maybe I'll do it now.


Thanks for reading.

Stephanie said...

Mr. Fort Worthology and I share the same guilt about not having been to Nonna Tata. It just seems like whenever we want to go they're not open or jam-packed busy.

fortworthcookie said...

Had been curious about it since before it opened, but kept forgetting to go. When Fort Worth Foodie's summer issue had just come out, we were eating our way through it, and went. I enjoyed it so much, in part thanks to your article. I ran out to the car to get them a couple copies of the issue in case they hadn't seen it, and they brought some free guacamole to our table in appreciation! It was unique and tasty, and, I think it really should have been yours. Guess I owe you one. Will be happy to make good on that, as long as I get to have some too.

Anonymous said...

I used to be in LOVE with Paco and John when they first opened. Since then, I have been disappointed and a bit bored with the lunch menu. Also, the service has been a HUGE problem for me- waiters not washing hands after being in the dish pit, hands on faces and in hair, touching the food they set in front of you, touching the top of glasses where one drinks when refilling (if you get a refill), and so on. Being in the service industry, I can no longer go there and witness these violations. But at least the food is good?

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Hand washing is for hospitals.

FortWorthCookie, to pay me back, go every day for the next week and order each table guacamole and pay for it. Eventually I will be there and you'll make it even.

Or, start a place called Fort Worth Cookie, make really good cookies, and let me have one for free.

Thank you for the story though. And thanks to everybody for reading.

Ashley said...

Just went to Paco and John finally. I went for dinner...haven't been for breakfast and lunch yet but plan to. I got the chicken and avocado/banana thing and I loved it!

jdemott said...

Just found this blog, after recently going to Paco and John for the first time, writing my own blog post about it, and deciding to search for other posts on same. Enjoying the blog so far. Looking forward to new dining suggestions.

Jamie said...

Sigh, I decided to try Paco & John's after Salsa Fuego was a bust. Sadly, I think I could have gotten better food at Taco Bell. I got 2 of their tacos, one brisket & one carnitas. The meat on both of them was tough and had absolutely no flavor at all. I also ordered a carnitas torta & my dad ordered a milanesa torta. After pouring 2 servings of their red salsa, half a serving of their green salsa, squeezing 2 lime slices, and adding a hefty amount of salt, my sandwich finally had a little flavor. Sadly, there was no helping my dad's. I'll stick with Melis for my tortas. I'll continue to look elsewhere though! Love your blog!