The Skinny: Los Charros II is the official birthplace of the "Fat Baby". After my first meal here I was so full, I claimed to be just like a Fat Baby, plump and ready for a long nap. Needless to say, this dive is one of my faves.
The Fat: A few years ago a friend and I started coming here for breakfast. Back then, $2.75 would get you a huge plate of scrambled eggs mixed with anything from chorizo to sausage, a side of refried beans, potatoes, fresh salsa and warm corn or flour tortillas. I always order shredded cheese and avocado with my breakfast, for $.50 each, it's so worth it.
These days, that same plate costs $3.25. The price increase is of little importance to me. When I see price increases at other places, I sometimes get peeved because I know they're just doing it because they can. Here, they do it because the have to and because they should. The food is scrumptious, substantial and still a steal.
If you're an OJ lover, get some. They squeeze it fresh to order and it's amazing! Be sure to specify that you want the small glass. The small is pretty big so unless you want to end up with an enormous glass, reminiscent of a goldfish bowl, you'll do as I say.
The best thing about Los Charros II is that they serve breakfast anytime of day ($1.25 extra if you order it after 11am). It's perfect for those of us who choose to roll out of bed on a Sunday and prefer to avoid the "post religious services" crowd or the "uber popular brunch-a-mania" wave that washes over the city between 9am and 5pm.
I've never once had to wait for a table. On the same note, this place fluctuates from 5 to 50 other diners at any given time of day. Never empty, they know they got the goods.
If you're not an eggs and tortillas gal, go for the Torta. The warm sandwich can be a vegetarian delight or filled with steak, fajita chicken, barbecue beef, etc. and is served on a soft French loaf and stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and sour cream.
They make incredible Gorditas, crispy Tostadas and even serve up a mean Mexican Hamburger; all of which are under $4.00. A few other lunch and dinner items hover around the $7.00 range and will fill most grown men up well before they clean their plates.
The decor is...well...interesting. The seating looks like it may have been extracted from the post renovation buy-out of a 1970's McDonald's. The back wall sports an uncomfortable mural of a bear family with a super strong politically incorrect vibe - sort of like those oldschool cartoons with the guys that blew up their lips from smoking dynamite cigars. Thankfully the mural has since been covered up by juice dispensers for their Aguas Naturales - natural fruit drinks of melon, mango, strawberry and the like. The rest of the walls have been (repeatedly) painted in loud hues of yellow and blue and about half of the windows are covered with faded car window tinting.
I wouldn't suggest taking your high-maintenance girlfriend here if you're trying to impress her. Once you know she loves you for your mind, however, Los Charros II is a great place to fuel up for a long day of...whatever.
P.S. The waitstaff are super efficient but most of the ladies barely speak English, which rocks as far as I'm concerned. They're cool and decent and just there to make sure you get fed. So, when you order, go ahead and try out your old Spanish lessons from 6th grade. You suck, they suck; it's all good. You'll still get your food.
Location: 404 N. Shepherd 713.426.6226
Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!
Whether I’m ordering a meal at a restaurant or cooking up something at home, enjoying what I eat brings me immense satisfaction. On the other hand, being disappointed in a meal sends me into tantrum mode.
I expect certain things out of a dining experience. I’m realistic about the standards I hold for each place, from the local taco bar to the five star steak house. What I've decided is that it's about a perfect balance between service, food quality, ambiance and price. That may seem like a lot to juggle, but Houston is a big city with a plethora of restaurants to choose from. There’s no reason to expect anything less than the best.
If you strip my needs down to the bare essentials, you'll find I'm very much like a baby; I love tasty food and I love to be happy. If an experience doesn't generate a sense of fulfillment for those two basic needs...you're gonna hear me cry.
Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!