Imagine sitting around a campfire after a hard day of riding horses and herding cattle, tendrils of smoke wafting up from carne guisada in a cast iron kettle, and your stomach growling with hunger. You can recreate that satisfying sensation at DK Maria’s Legendary Tex-Mex in South Austin.
I jumped at the chance to taste menu favorites with one of the owners, Mike Reynolds. I’ve been obsessed with this place lately, and trying the house specialties with Reynolds was a true pleasure. Through their restaurant, Reynolds and his wife DK, and co-owners Bruce and Mary Evans, share the recipes they grew up with when visiting family in south Texas.
Thank you to DK Maria’s Legendary Tex-Mex for hosting me for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.
We started with The One and Done, a margarita made with 1800 Tequila, fresh lime juice, Paula’s Texas Orange, and Gran Gala. This is a Reynolds family recipe. The name comes from family parties. DK would make a pitcher of these, but the rule was “one and done.” The margarita is tasty and balanced. It doesn’t taste too strong, but it definitely packs a punch.
Next, we had a frozen house margarita with strawberry added. Unlike most Tex-Mex places in Austin, DK Maria’s uses Sauza tequila and fresh lime juice for all house margaritas. No rotgut cheap tequila here! And the team uses fresh, pureed strawberries for the flavored margaritas, keeping the drinks delicious and slightly healthier than ones with added sugar. Refreshing and tasty.
Tex-Mex is only as good as the chips and salsa that start the meal. If your chips and salsa aren’t up to par, then it’s time to pack up. DK Maria’s chips are thick and crunchy, made more heavenly with a bit of flour for puffiness (they can make gluten-free chips upon request). The salsa was roasted with a decent kick of heat.
Next, I tried the queso. Austinites know and love queso. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn of a queso cult somewhere in town. Here, DK Maria’s offers a creamy, classic queso with ground beef, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
After the queso and chips came my latest food crush, La Familia Tortilla Soup. The broth was scrumptious with a generous portion of tender, shredded chicken. It could’ve been a meal by adding rice, corn, the tortilla strips, and an avocado slice. Two thumbs up!
You have to try the quail, which is a south Texas staple (and easy to overcook). I’m happy to report the Quail Cosa at DK Maria’s was juicy with a delicious sauce. The dish came with grilled asparagus, making this one of the healthier dishes on the main course menu.
There’s also the beloved Cow Camp Enchilada. It evokes the south Texas cowboy lifestyle and can meet the heartiest appetite. The sinful carne guisada enchiladas are covered with yummy chile con carne and cheese. DK Maria’s uses high-grade beef and avoids greasiness. Enchiladas are a staple here and should not be missed by carnivores (especially after a night of partying).
I also recommend Anselmo’s Grilled Fish, which is Gulf Coast black drum. It’s freshly caught and brought in regularly. DK Maria’s takes pride in not messing around with farm-raised fish. The kitchen executed a perfectly grilled, tender, flaky fish, covered in a sauce consisting of tomatoes and poblano peppers. I loved it.
Big Burro Challenge: I Double-Dog Dare Ya!
Reynolds and his team recognize Austin’s fun-loving side. As lifelong Texans with a deep understanding of stereotypical Texan bravado, they’re offering patrons with said swagger a food challenge, worthy of any competitive eaters.
The Big Burro Challenge involves eating a comically oversized burrito (including the sides) in 15 minutes. If you can manage that, the burrito is on the house! The burrito itself is stuffed with carne guisada and “lots of spicy stuff.” Even if you can’t eat it all in one sitting, it’s a satisfying and tasty meal (or two or three).
Giddy Up to DK Maria’s
I’m a fan of DK Maria’s and their above average Tex-Mex fare. The concept is simple: Tex-Mex like it used to be. The team is taking time-tested recipes from family and friends, using high-quality ingredients, and dishing it all up for Austin’s pleasure. Saddle up and ride on over. I’m sure you can find a hitching post somewhere, or at least a spot in the spacious parking lot.
1807 Slaughter Lane – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Are you up for the Big Burro Challenge at DK Maria’s?