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What to Expect from Burgerteca, Chef Johnny Hernandez's Newest Project


  • Ron Bechtol
After four years of stop-and-start planning and construction, during which time Johnny Hernandez nearly lost interest due to other projects, the celebrated chef finally added Burgerteca in the Big Tex development to his arsenal of popular eating establishments. It officially opens Monday, but the restaurant invited media to check out the space and menu this Wednesday night. Boasting mango-bright colors, multiple Mexican masks and evocative, papel machado alebrijes in the form of deer and other phantasmagoric creatures, the lofty space alone makes seeking out parking worth the effort at this newest addition to the burgeoning Blue Star ‘hood.

At the press opening, we tasted mostly slider-sized versions of what will be full-sized burgers — served on house-baked buns. Any concerns about balance in the use of sweet mole and grilled pineapple can be more easily addressed full-scale. We tasted a beef al pastor, a Oaxacan rendition with black beans and mole, and the appealing Pacifica featuring seared tuna with jalapeño lime mayo, all from the left side of the menu that Hernandez considers his more-Mexican inspired offerings. But don’t ignore the right side’s Big Tex Classic with tomatillo ketchup and chipotle lime mayo. (Bacon isn’t mentioned, but some crisp pieces on the sliders added desirable texture and, frankly, fat.) If you gather the courage to order the mole-slathered and white cheese-dotted fries with sharp pickled onion, please be prepared to share.
And also be prepared to frankly brain-freeze-out on the house-made helados. The “nachos” are more like a south-of-the-border take on a banana split. The coconada bathed with mango and pineapple syrups is lush and irresistible, and the creamy mangonada, (there’s also a potent, frozen rum drink by the same name), blends mango with spiky chamoy. Buen provecho.

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