Having opened Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina a few months ago in The Woodlands, Levi Goode, not one to rest on his laurels, decided to bring the Tex-Mex fare to Memorial Villages. The Goode name has long and deep traditional Mexican roots that come from as far as Tampico, Mexico, and it is here at the Kitchen & Cantina where the Tex definitely meets the Mex. Easily located off 9005 Katy Freeway, former site of the Mason Jar, this newly renovated space is bringing the flavor all while respecting the classics.
Guests are greeted with a “Bienvenidos Y’all” sign prominently displayed on the side of the building. With plenty of onsite parking, spaces across the street and complimentary valet, it won’t be hard to find a spot. As you walk into the 6,500-square-foot Kitchen & Cantina the smell of fresh tortillas will hit you. The interior will remind you of old Spanish haciendas of a time past, from the Mexican handcrafted pendant lights hanging from the ceiling to the beautiful tables made from reclaimed wood.
We were seated in the dining room, which offers an unobstructed view of the wood-fired grills and the exposed kitchen. We started our dining experience with cocktails, as they have a stacked list topped off with the favorite Damn Goode Margarita and including imaginative libations such as the Roasted Poblano Margarita, Mexican Mule and El Guapo Viejo. If you’re in the mood for something more authentic and fascinating, Cantina offers tequila of three varying styles and mezcal flights. In the mood for a lager? They offer Mexican beer the likes of Carta Blanca, Sol, Tecate, Corona Extra and Modelo Especial in bottles; Dos Equis, Austin Eastciders Pineapple, Modelo and rotating tap on draft; and old domestic mainstays Bud Light, Coors, Miller and Shiner in bottles.
For our starters, we opted for flavors from the Gulf and ordered the Campechana Extra, a Mexican-style seafood cocktail with avocado, Anaheim chiles and pico de gallo with chips, and jumbo lump crab-topped nachos. The two dishes complement each other as the Campechana is fresh and full of flavor and the nachos are cheesy and perfectly balanced with the right amount of refried beans and lump crab.
The pièce de résistance of Kitchen & Cantina, and what I would say perfectly embodies the spirit of it all, would be the Parrillada Familiar, which includes fajitas, beef, chicken or combo, one jalapeño cheese smoked sausage, two Texas quail, four jumbo Gulf shrimp, and a half pound of pork carnitas, served with handmade tortillas, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, jalapeno lime butter, rice and beans and empanadas. The Parillada is the perfect balance of Tex-Mex; the beef fajitas are cooked to perfection and not overly chewy or stringy; the Texas quail is delicious with meat that falls off the bone and pairs well with the rest of the platter; the shrimp are massive; and the carnitas, having been marinated for three days, sends your taste buds into a buzz.
At this point of the meal you’re nearly in a food coma, but it would be a disservice to yourself to miss out on any of the desserts. They offer the favorite Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie, chocolate cream pie, tres leches, churros, sopaipillas, and Blue Bell ice cream with cajeta and candied pecans. We went with the traditional churros, crispy pastries with cinnamon sugar and sides of chocolate and cajeta to drizzle on or dip into.
Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina can be a lot of things: your reprieve after work, an oasis from traffic, a date night destination or your new favorite Tex-Mex joint. Top to bottom the quality is top notch without having to sacrifice authenticity. One thing is for sure: it is damn Goode Tex-Mex.