I haven’t eaten on a patio in weeks due to Houston weather. But after arriving at Studewood Cantine recently, I noticed fans on the patio. The fans, plus the breeze that indicated a coming storm, made sitting outside in the middle of the summer bearable.
Even though my small group was the only one on the patio, we were never forgotten. We quickly got menus, drinks and chips and salsa.
The chips were thin and pre-salted and since a server continuously brought out a fresh basket every time one would get low, I ate far too many. The red salsa was a little chunky with a hint of sweetness, which probably exuded from the tomatoes and peppers.
My table mates ordered the Original Cantine Queso, which was a blend of four cheeses, asado, molcajete sauce and pico de gallo. They reported that the queso met their satisfaction.
The street tacos I ordered came in three different variations: brisket, pulled pork and chicken. The restaurant allows you to mix the tacos instead of just choosing one kind. So since the dish came with three tacos, I asked for one of each.
Our food took longer than expected to come out of the kitchen, maybe 30 minutes after we ordered. Still, our server was at our table often, refilling our drinks (and chips). Since we had some food in front of us, most of the group didn’t even notice the wait time.
All of our dinner arrived in to-go containers, which along with checking temperatures at the door and paper menus, signified to me that the restaurant took safety precautions during this pandemic seriously.
The rice and refried beans were in the side holders of the container and the tacos were individually wrapped in foil. The beans were mostly smooth with pieces of beans mixed in. The rice was similar to Mexican rice I’ve had that was made from scratch, so I thought it tasted authentic.
The tacos all came with cilantro, onion and lime wrapped in a homemade flour tortilla. My first bite was of the pulled pork taco. The meat was thick and reminded me of roast beef, which confused me and made me think I was eating the wrong taco, but when I compared the pulled pork to the brisket, I knew I had been eating the pork. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the taco.
I tried the brisket next. The beef was fatty, but instead of it elevating the flavor, I thought it made the meat tough. I quickly moved on to the chicken.
The chunks of chicken had a seared flavor that reminded me of when I cook on a cast iron skillet. It’s a deep flavor that comes from the way it’s cooked rather than what’s put on it.
The only qualm I had about the tortillas, which were fresh and warm, was that they began to break open at the bottom while I was holding a taco in my hand.
From others in my group, I got positive feedback about the chicken fajitas, chicken quesadillas and tortilla soup.
Address: 1111 Studewood St. Ste. A
Hours: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–9:45 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Healthy options: No
Star of the show: Chicken taco