I generally shy away from chain restaurants, but sometimes a small, local chain is born because the restaurant is too good not to multiply into additional locations. Such is the case with Mi Cocina Restaurant in Plano, Texas, a happening suburb about 30 minutes from Dallas (they also have locations in Dallas and Ft.Worth). This large, light-filled restaurant is in the Legacy Town Center, a planned mixed use development that combines both residential and commercial, much like classic neighborhoods we remember.
Mi Cocina is a popular lunch and dinner spot for shoppers and residents alike. When we visited for lunch during the week, the two-story restaurant was crowded with happy diners. The menu is big and the food relatively inexpensive. This is Tex-Mex style, so you won’t find too much heat here as evidence by the very mild salsa served with baskets of chips.
The guacamole is a generous plate of chunky avocado moistened with lime that lets the avocado flavor really come through. Their appetizer sampler features big wedges of quesadilla that are loaded with creamy Mexican cheese, chicken, and tomatoes; flautitas, corn tortillas and shredded beef rolled and fried that are a bit too greasy; and flavorful bean and cheese and bean and beef nachos served with big dollops of sour cream and guacamole.
The menu has enough offerings to satisfy the most discriminating eater. They offer traditional Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas that offer plenty of meat and cheese with flavorful (if not spicy) red or green sauce served with rice and beans. Their tacos run the gamut from Tacos de Brisket (you can’t get more Tex-Mex than that) made with chunks of tender beef and quesco blanco to shrimp tacos, marinated in lime and served with shreds of cabbage. The shrimp tacos feature small-to-medium shrimp (not the tiny bay shrimp) are have a sassy limey delicious taste.
They also offer authentic dishes from different parts of Mexico like Vera Cruz style Tilapia. The tilapia fillet is large with a smoky grilled flavor. Instead of cooking the fish in the traditional Vera Cruz tomato sauce, they serve the mild-tasting sauce on the side, which preserves the pleasantly crunchiness of the fish. It’s served with grilled veggies (zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, and fresh spinach), rice, and a small green side salad loaded with big slices of avocado and cherry tomatoes.
Mi Cocina is renown for their margaritas, especially something they call the Mambo Taxi Margarita. Several of my dining companions ordered the traditional lime margarita, which came in the huge water glass, and found them to be tasty.
Real bottom line: You won’t go away hungry at Mi Cocina with its big, flavorful offerings of Tex-Mex foods. It’s a delicious choice, but you may need a doggie bag for your leftovers.