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Review: Luz Mia Restaurante brings taquería chill to Monte Vista

September 17, 2018

As a licensed professional counselor in Monte Vista, Ceasar Garza recognized the need for a cafe to meet the breakfast and lunch needs of busy professionals in the neighborhood. So he opened one of his own.

Luz Mia Restaurante opened its doors last week, a modest 30-seat cafe serving breakfast tacos, chilaquiles plates, carne guisada, fajitas, enchiladas and daily American-style lunch specials from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Garza plans to add dinner hours four or five months down the road.

Garza said the cafe, adjacent to his McCullough Center for Mental Health, is a tribute to his mother, Maria Espinoza Cuellar, affectionately known as “Maria de la Luz.”

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On the menu: A trio of breakfast tacos proved that Luz Mia has the soul and price points of a neighborhood taquería, with well-executed combinations of potato and egg ($1.85), bean and cheese ($1.60) and weiner and egg ($1.75). The key? Thick, handmade flour tortillas with fresh bakery fluff, bounce and sunspot toasting.

A plate of chilaquiles brought together eggs, pico de gallo and fried tortilla pieces broiled until a layer of cheese melted and began to form a crust. Served with fried potatoes, refried beans and two fresh tortillas, it was a solid value at $6.50. For $2.95, add big, tender chunks of carne guisada in lightly salted brown gravy.

Thoughts of lunch led to a carne asada a la mexicana taco ($3.25) packed so full of seared steak and sauteed pico de gallo that it needed a plate of its own, served on a sturdy, pliable handmade corn tortilla.

Fans of the classic Ro-Tel/Velveeta model of chile con queso will appreciate Luz Mia’s version ($5.99), and the cafe makes its own spicy jalapeño verde and mild tomato red salsas.

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And for a shop less than 10 days old, Luz Mia turned out a properly old-school Mexican Plate ($8.25) with rice, beans, fresh tortillas, a beef taco in a freshly fried shell and two enchiladas with good cheddar in a tomato-chile gravy.

The restaurant will rotate American-style specials to see what works best, from hamburger steak with mushroom gravy to chicken-fried steak to burgers, Garza said. A guacamole burger ($8.99 with thin-cut homefries) made a strong case to join the main menu, with a tall patty of fresh seasoned beef on a broad sesame bun with creamy guacamole as radiantly green as the potted tropicals on the sidewalk.

Location: 138 E. Mistletoe Ave., 210-612-5626, Facebook: Luz Mia Restaurante

Hours: 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Breakfast served until 10:30.

Mike Sutter is a food and drink reporter and restaurant critic. Read more of his stories on mysanantonio.com and ExpressNews.com, our subscriber site. | msutter@express-news.net | Twitter: @fedmanwalking | Instagram: @fedmanwalking

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