Pre-Happy New Year! It’s the end of 2017, and before we hop on a plane to begin our foodie adventures in Europe (follow me on Instagram for frequent moments of food envy), I wanted to share my last DFW restaurant meal of 2017 — Beto and Son at Trinity Groves — you’ll want to check this out.
Open for a year now, Chef Julian Rodarte, recently named as one of Zagat’s National 30 Under 30, ushered Beto and Son into the Dallas restaurant scene with “Next Generation Mexican Food.” His father and mentor, Beto Rodarte, is a veteran of the business and co-owns Beto and Son with Julian at Phil Romano’s Trinity Groves. With interesting takes on traditional Tex-Mex/Mexican cuisine, a lively atmosphere, and a knack for doing things a little different, like their nitrogen margarita served tableside, together, they’ve made it clear — they’re here to stay.
While I’ve been to Trinity Groves a thousand times to enjoy everything from a burger and shake to noodles, tapas (so sad they’re gone), and chocolate cake followed by chocolate truffles, I hadn’t ventured into Beto and Son. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a pal of mine forwarded a link to Chef Julian’s YouTube page where he declared December 20th as National Guest Appreciation Day and challenged restaurant owners to show customers their appreciation by picking up the tab for the entire restaurant!
A.) I was pissed because I hadn’t been in the restaurant at the time. B.) I was intrigued enough to make plans that evening to drive out to Trinity Groves and check it out.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about guest service. I don’t play when it comes to customer engagement and am known to friends as the Chief of Customer Service Po-po. With years in the restaurant and retail industry, a huge part of my own consulting business is coaching restaurants and companies on guest engagement and long-term service impact. Like I tell my clients, guests will show up for the food, but they’ll come back for the service. And, more than the fact Chef Julian is a young entrepreneur (which seems to be part of his brand at the moment), I liked his take on service. So, I wanted to see if his whole restaurant reflected his beliefs.
Plus, who are we kidding? I am a “Drinker of Margaritas” and can’t turn down a good opportunity for one of those.
Bear and I arrived right at the start of dinner rush and were immediately greeted by a cordial young lady who showed us to our table within a couple of minutes. The moment we sat down, we noticed Chef Julian and Chef Beto were taping bar demonstrations for what we later found out was a YouTube channel (sorry, didn’t catch which one — I’ll update if I get the name).
Within seconds of being seated, Joey showed up to our table to explain he and Adriana would be our servers for the evening, as every table had two servers to ensure our meal was seamless and we had everything we needed.
Score one for Chef Julian.
After ordering our first round, a Smoky Rita for me (miiiija, so good) and a Pick Your Patron for Bear, we kicked off the meal with their complimentary chips and salsa. Normally, who would mention the chips and salsa, right? But, the creamy black bean hummus dip deserves a mention with that cilantro pesto. However, whoever made the salsa roja was pretty angry that day because holy macaroni, was that picoso! I even noticed another table wide-eyed and reaching for the water after a taste. I love spicy, pero damn.
Thankfully, what followed not only silenced my wailing tastebuds but delighted them with what is probably one of the coolest variations of a poutine I’ve ever experienced. Poutine is a Canadian dish usually made with french fries, cheese curds, and a brown gravy — utterly divine. And, tons of restaurants have their take. Holy Grail Pub in Plano does a kick-ass version that they don’t call poutine (but, it’s poutine), and most recently, I was blown away by the short rib poutine served up at DC’s Old Ebbit Grill. So, this girl knew when she saw Mexican Poutine on a menu, she had to try it.
Did. Not. Disappoint. Masa fries smothered in chicken Tinga, queso blanco, pico de gallo, tomatillo sauce and topped with a fried egg??? Uh… more, please. It was the bomb diggity. Now, for all you purists out there, was this technically a poutine? No, but I don’t care. Call it whatever you want. I call it delicioso. And, this is “next gen” food, as Chef Julian would tell you. So, come in for the unexpected.
Next up were our entrees. But, I had a short stop at Don Beto’s Chicken Tortilla Soup since I’m a sucker for good tortilla soup. Gotta say, not my favorite of everything we tried. The broth was carefully poured tableside over the mound of tortilla strips and avocados, but la sopa faltaba sal. It was, however, very heavy-handed on the pepper, and the ratio of chicken to calabacita and huge chunks of bell peppers was off IMHO. This updated version wasn’t wow material, but it also didn’t play a huge role in the overall experience. So, while I shall pass on the soup next time, there will definitely still be a next time.
Our entrees, though, were definitely wow material, especially the Green Chile Pork Enchiladas. As you guys know, Bear is from New Mexico, and anytime we see green chile anything, it’s going to be ordered. Stacks of pulled pork layered with green chile, cheese, and corn tortillas, then topped with a fried egg put this over the top. It was perfectly seasoned and also went perfectly with Bear’s Liquid Nitrogen Margarita seen here and as demonstrated by Chef Julian (my bootleg copy as experienced from our table). Joey was the mad cocktail scientist for our table and did a phenomenal job explaining every step in the process.
Mix and Match Tacos were my choice and included a beer-battered salmon taco, al pastor, and tenderloin taco. Topped with pickled slaw and avocado, that salmon taco was outstanding. I’m a fan of fish tacos but hadn’t ever had fried salmon before. One would think the fattiness of the salmon would be overpowering if battered, but that wasn’t the case. It was light, crispy and definitely not greasy at all. The tenderloin taco was absolutely delicious, but the al pastor was my favorite — I mean, who doesn’t like al pastor tacos? And, when the meat is as tender and incredibly well-seasoned as this taco was?? Double score for the tacos alone.
Adriana offered up several options for dessert, and we landed on churros because… well… churros.
They had a crunchy exterior and were dusted generously with cinnamon-sugar. And, I couldn’t figure out where I was getting the citrus notes from; so, I asked Adriana to inquire whether or not orange or lime had been zested into the batter or into the dulce de leche sauce that came on the side.
No sooner than I’d asked, there was Chef Julian at our table to explain the process. He introduced himself and then shared that lime, lemon, and orange zest was added to the batter to brighten it up. It was his take on the traditional churro, and we dug it. And, we dug him, too. He was genuine, and you could tell he was passionate about his food and passionate about ensuring we had the right answer to our question.
We absolutely ended our meal on a high note, both from a culinary and guest experience perspective.
While much of the buzz has been about Chef Julian’s age and his being noticed on a national level by Zagat, that’s not the reason we tried Beto and Sons. We wanted to see if he was the real deal and if the passion for food and people he touts on YouTube or in any of his posts were a gimmick or a promise he was able to deliver.
What we found was exactly what was promised: An incredible level of sincere service and a heaping amount of inspired dishes that make me want to drive to Trinity Groves more often.
Beto and Son
3011 Gulden Lane
Dallas, Texas 75212
Sunday & Monday 11 am – 9 pm
Tuesday – Thursday 11 am – 10 pm
Friday & Saturday 11 am – 11 pm
LET’S KEEP IT REAL: First and foremost, I do everything for the love of food. Most of what I write about is because I love it! If I don’t love it, I tell you about that, too. From time to time, I may receive monetary or product compensation for mentioning products, offering recommendations, providing endorsements, or including links to products or services when I blog. While that may be the case for some posts, it is not the case for all. When it’s sponsored, you’ll see #sponsored when I post. When I’m just sharing the love, I won’t use that particular tag or hashtag. What you need to know is that I only give shout outs when I actually use the product or love it so much it deserves a shout out, sponsored or not.