When Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez closed their longtime Montrose restaurant, Bocados, after 15 years, their fans were eager to follow them wherever they landed next. Next ended up being the Northside area just north (imagine that) of downtown, where Flores and Hernandez found and remodeled an old icehouse into what's quickly become a popular neighborhood hangout. Fans of Bocados—as well as nearby residents—have clearly found their way to Flores and Hernandez's new restauarnt, Red Ox Bar & Grill, judging by the packed house I found last Wednesday night.
Red Ox Bar & Grill
Red Ox was originally intended for the space that currently houses D&T Drive Inn, and it's tempting to compare the two spaces: both modernized icehouses, both instantly popular with area residents, both cheerful, inviting establishments, both in up-and-coming neighborhoods. Red Ox even sports a killer piece of colorful graffiti from local artist Wiley that proudly reps its Northside home base.
But where D&T serves an extensive line-up of craft beer (which earned them a spot on our recent Top 6 Beer Bars list) and updated Southern comfort food, Red Ox serves a more old-school Tex-Mex menu of standards like enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos al carbon. There's some craft beer here, but that's not really the point at Red Ox; you're here to spend an evening on the patio with friends, drinking whatever's coldest—whether that be a Lone Star or a frozen margarita.
I admit to being a little befuddled by Red Ox's decision to charge $3 for chips and salsa (with no refills on our basket of chips all evening long) in a neighborhood so saturated with great Tex-Mex joints that offer chips and salsa gratis, but I seemed to be the only one bothered by this. Perhaps the underrepresented 3 percent of readers who said they don't mind paying for chips and salsa in our recent Tex-Mex survey were overrepresented at Red Ox.
If you're watching your wallet (like I clearly am), Wednesday night is the perfect time to pay a visit to the new space: that's when Red Ox hosts its weekly steak nights. $15 gets you a fat steak, a large baked potato, and your choice of Lone Star or a glass of wine. It's supposed to get down to 76 degrees tonight, and what better way to spend a beautiful Texas summer evening than over a beer and a steak at a neighborhood icehouse?