Mextopia Spices Up Your Lunch Options.
2104 Greenville Avenue
Ambiance: 3.5 out of 4 tacos
Service: 3.5 out of 4 tacos
Food: 3.5 out of 4 tacos
Mextopia opened its Lowest Greenville doors in the spring of 2010, but the spot's history precedes that date by a longshot. Owner Ricardo Avila used to work at Avila's the down-home Tex-Mex restaurant opened in in a remodeled home on Maple Avenue in 1985 — until his family found out that he had filed paperwork listing him as the sole owner of the spot and mayhem ensued, eventually forcing Ricardo out to start his own place.
At least give Ricardo some credit: For starters, the guy put a reference to Utopia in his restaurant's name, which is about as bold a thing as you can do when opening a new spot. Second is the fact that, well, it kind of is Utopian.
Yeah, it's that good. And, no, that's not surprising.
Avila's has long been recognized as one of the best Tex-Mex spots in Dallas if not beyond city limits, and Mextopia is pretty much a direct rip-off of Avila's menu, albeit with some changes. Not surprisingly, those changes find Mextopia edging toward the bolder end of the spectrum.
The queso here is spicier than the variety found at Avila's, the free salsa (that comes with chips) offered to every table has a little more kick, and there's more of a variety offered in terms of lunch special options.
Perhaps most important, though: The brisket tacos appear as a regular item here, not as a specialty item. At Avila's, that's historically been the case, with the treat only listed on the specials chalkboard from time to time. True, they're generally available all the time if one knows well enough to order them — as one should since they're among the best you're likely to find anywhere — but, for newcomers to this restaurateur family's ways, that's asking too much.
And that's a shame.
Mextopia seems to know better. And, fortunately, the same exact brisket taco treatment from Avila's is available at Mextopia, which is grand news indeed: The brisket tacos these two spots are nothing short of a revelation, slow-cooked to succulent, soft and juicy (but never soggy) perfection. Paired with a soft, light flour tortilla and it tastes like Heaven — or however Heaven should taste. They're a little pricey at two tacos for $12.95 (more than a dollar more than Avila's charges), but, man, are they worth it.
Savvy customers can work their way around this roadblock: The Nacho Sampler (also $12.95) features two loaded brisket-covered nacho chips, as well as another eight varieties of nacho (variations on bean and chicken, unless ordered otherwise). The seven listed lunch specials, meanwhile, all check in at a modest $7.25, and the Cuatro and Seis each feature brisket tacos, albeit in crispy shells. No matter. It's the meat that matters.
And at Mextopia, that's all that really counts.