This week's reader question comes from E.T., who moved to the Bay Area from Houston a few years ago:
I totally have a question, but after three and a half years of asking it, I'm beginning to suspect that the answer is “no.” Is there any restaurant in the Bay Area that serves serious Tex-Mex food? I'm specifically interested in ground-beef enchiladas smothered in chile gravy and yellow cheese, with larded-up refried beans on the side.
Well, E.T., I'm sorry, but I can't really help you out. And let me tell you why I don't feel bad about it.
There are no restaurants in the Bay Area that currently advertise themselves as Tex Mex, and after the great Southwestern boom and bust of the 1980s, only NOPA's Green Chile Kitchen claims to serve New Mexican food. (For your sake, I checked it out last week and found it to be heavily Californiated.) You can find Texas-esque nachos at Green Chile Kitchen; its new sister restaurant, Chile Pies, serves Frito pie in the bag. For that matter, you can also find Frito pie at Da Beef, the hot dog stand on Folsom and Seventh Street. And Bruno's chef, Ryan Ostler, is a native Texan who puts the occasional Tex Mex dish on his menu and imports the Texan post oak he uses for some of his barbecued meats.