New restaurants come and go, but a few remain in our hearts and bellies for decades.
Gonzalez Restaurant is one of those.
Gonzalez, in Dallas since 1973, opened its Jefferson Tower location in 1988.
It’s just down the block from hip coffee shop Cultivar and the craft cocktails of Small Brewpub. A chic gallery next door, Mercado 369, sells high-priced art, jewelry and luxury goods from Mexico and points south.
Gonzalez is a relic of the before times, the slow Oak Cliff. The Oak Cliff “Oh!” days. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly Jefferson Boulevard, and it helps this otherwise gentrified block retain authenticity.
It’s also one of the most satisfying lunch spots around.
The mole chicken enchiladas and guisado de puerco are my favorites for dinner. At lunch, it’s the No. 6: A puffy taco and a cheese enchilada framing smooth, earthy tasting refried beans and rice so flavorful, so fluffy and light I have to close my eyes for the first bite.
The enchilada comes with sauce and not the beef gravy that defines Dallas Tex Mex. The warm salsa for the chips is different from what’s expected anywhere else.
But that tortilla.
Erect a monument to the majesty of the chewy flour tortillas of Gonzalez Restaurant. They make life worth living. I know it’s literally just bread, but I’m not exaggerating here. They’re the best flour tortillas on the planet.
Oak Cliff’s exciting dining and culinary scene make the neighborhood what it is. But old-timers like Gonzalez keep Oak Cliff what it was.