by Ben the Grate
February 25, 2002
Monica's was started by a post operative transsexual from Mexico City in the early 90s. She proudly claims, "I may not be beautiful, I may sound like Ricky Ricardo on the phone, but I SURE CAN COOK!"
And that's no lie! Monica serves up traditional Mexican soul food (none of that TexMex crap) with inventive fusions of Asian and Italian.
Menu favorites include the Pumpkin Ravioli with Chili Sauce, the Lime Chicken Soup with avocado, the Mexican Lasagne, the Pink Salmon enchiladas, Quail pasta, and Salmon Mojo. ($9-$16)
If the inventive menu is too overwhelming for you, you can always order from the Tex Mex menu, with enchilada and black bean platters starting at $8.
And you simply MUST try a bowl of her unbelievable queso. Monica's queso takes queso to a higher level. It doesn't even faintly resemble the "queso" you get at TexMex joints. Monica's queso is white, made from a blend of authentic Mexican cheeses and several different types of chilies. It goes down smooth, like velvet.
A wonderful aspect of the restaurant is Specials Nights.
Tuesday night - Half price entrees
Wednesday night - $0.50 margaritas (and BOY are they good and strong!)
Friday and Saturday - live music by a Tejano band that gets WAYYY too loud, so ask to sit on the patio
Sunday night - live Salsa that isn't too loud, just try to get a table near the dance floor so you can watch the yuppy Chicos and Chicas twirl.
The decor is dark, funky, but very romantic. I reiterate that if you're here on Friday or Saturday, the live band is simply too loud for any type of conversation, to try to sit on the patio.
The restaurant is simply packed after 7pm on weekends, and they will reserve for parties of 5 or larger. Otherwise, you'll easily face an hour wait. But if you can squeeze up to the bar you can pass that hour easily with a few of their smooth-as-silk frozen margaritas.
The service is prompt and friendly, as many of the waitstaff has been here for years. Due to the owner's history, the place attracts a healthy gay clientele, as well as the young single hetero set. The atmosphere is fun and friendly and makes a great social gathering spot, but perhaps not for an intimate date unless you come early (5p-7p).
You can never go wrong with Monica's. It is, perhaps, the most well rounded restaurant I've found in Dallas.
Tues - Thurs 5p-10p
Fri - Sat 5p-12a
Open for brunch Sat and Sun 11a-3p
From journal Dining Dallas