Although I knew I wanted to try out somewhere new to eat this week, I just couldn't decide where to go. I wasn't craving any particular type of cuisine and since most of the apartment leases in the student area started just last weekend, I wasn't eager to venture downtown (although maybe I should have before all the kiddies move back in the dorms too). I decided to pick something fairly close to home that I've passed by many times and offhandedly commented that I'd like to-Tex Tubb's Cadillac Ranch.
Tex Tubb's Cadillac Ranch, formerly the second Tex Tubb's Taco Palace (the first is on Atwood Ave.) is a Tex-Mex venture from Kevin Tubb of El Dorado Grill and Food Fight Inc. The idea to try it out arose merely from driving by it so often on my way downtown to the farmer's market, but after reading some reviews from The Isthmus and Yelp, I was a little less sure of my choice for dinner. Although I'm not one to let reviews make choices for me by any means, I definitely take them into consideration when from sources I respect, like The Isthmus. After quickly reading the reviews and browsing the menu during my break at work, I decided on the fish tacos.
Before I could even crack the dinner menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find the drink menu had a Death's Door Rita, made with Death's Door White Whisky. As a huge fan of Death's Door gin and enthusiastic locavore, I had to try it out. It was the best margarita I've had in recent memory, perhaps ever. I'm not a fan of the frozen, oversweetened, blended margaritas and this on-the-rocks margarita showcased the high-quality spirits without being overpowering. Of course, if you don't like lime, this isn't the margarita for you.
Now on to the fish tacos! I apologize for the lack of pictures, but the restaurant was dark and the stormy sky didn't provide enough light to illuminate my scrumptious dinner. Before I'd even arrived I'd decided on the achiote tilapia, but was pleased to find when I ordered that I was allowed to select three different tacos so I had the achiote tilapia, fried catfish, and marinated shrimp tacos. While the marinated shrimp taco was good, the shrimp itself was only fine and the taco was really held up by the red cabbage, guacamole, black bean purée, chipotle mayonnaise, pickles and onions that topped each taco. The achiote tilapia and catfish were both extraordinary and I'm not ashamed to say I cleaned every bite off my plate, including the only average black beans and Mexican rice. The sumptuous fish is nicely offset by the fresh, soft corn tortilla and acidic, crunchy veggies on top, although the chipotle mayonnaise disappears under the fresh guacamole and subtle, though recognizable, black bean puree. Opt for the achiote tilapia for a fresh, lighter meal and the fried catfish for a crispy, rich treat. If I get a chance to go back, I would order the achiote tilapia and catfish tacos again, with the remaining option, blackened tilapia, rounding out the meal.
For those who don't like Mexican food, there's a decent selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, although many have a Tex-Mex slant. This restaurant is very family-friendly, though I also saw what appeared to be either a joint bachelor/bachelorette party or wedding rehearsal dinner renting out the back part of the dining room while I was there.
After this thoroughly satisfying meal, I'm excited to visit the original Tex Tubb's Taco Palace on Atwood Avenue, though I would be happy to go back to the Cadillac Ranch for more fish tacos. Tex Tubb's Cadillac Ranch is located at 2701 University Ave. and open Monday - Wednesday from 11am-9pm, Thursday - Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday 9am-10pm, and Sunday 9am-9pm. Visit their website for more details.