Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill

by Kelsey Norwood

in Food,Reviews

ztejasWe had the pleasure of eating at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill last night and it was good food and a fun evening. We haven’t been to the Gateway in a while, and other than finding a parking spot, it was fun to walk around and hear the street musicians and see all the fun shops.

Z’Tejas serves Southwestern food, which I learned is different from Mexican food in a few subtle ways. First of all, Southwestern food comes from the Southwestern region of the United States (obviously…), so bits from Louisiana Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and even California.

Second, as far as I can tell Southwestern food is all about peppers. Almost every dish had at least a couple different types of peppers and some of the chicken was flavored with the Jamaican “jerk” spice. Pumpkin seeds were another interesting ingredient in several of the dishes.

Our meal started out with some delicious cornbread with real kernels of corn and some sweet butter, which I loved! Honestly, when we’re thinking of a restaurant to go to, what they bring you to eat before you order holds some serious weight in our decision. I’ve had bread, chips and salsa, popcorn, and now cornbread, which I have to say is so unique and fabulous! I would go again just for the cornbread pre-appetizer.

chile pork verdeWe chose the Chile Pork Verde: tender pork simmered in tomatillos, Anaheim and serrano peppers, with melted Jack and cotija cheese, served with hot tortillas. Both the cornbread and the Chile Pork Verde were served to us in a little cast iron skillet, which seems very southwestern.

Barbacoa Enchiladas

{photo from Fahrenheit350.blogspot.com}

As for entrees, I had the Santa Fe Smoked Chicken Enchiladas and Boyd had the Green Chile Barbacoa Enchiladas. (View the complete menu here.) I wanted to try the Diablo Chicken Pasta, but we heard that was one of the spiciest things on the menu (hence the “diablo”) and I didn’t know if Gus would appreciate getting spicy milk later. When I’m not nursing, we’re going back so I can try it. I love spicy!

The food was definitely delicious, and I learned the food I ate growing up was maybe not so Mexican as I thought but more Southwestern. My Mom grew up in Ajo, Arizona and grew up eating lots of Mexican/Southwestern food and then cooked mostly that kind of food for us.

Mexican and Southwestern food seems very similar, but I’m thinking that maybe one of the main differences is in the use of corn tortillas. Both of our enchiladas were made with white corn tortillas (just like my Mom makes), and that’s rather unusual, I think. Most American Mexican places use flour tortillas for enchiladas.

Anyway, we loved the Southwestern style food that was similar but different than Mexican. It was familiar and new at the same time and brought back memories of my mom’s cooking.

I also learned that they add new items to their menu each season. The Chili Fest just finished up and so they’ll have some special new dishes soon for Fall. And if you plan on going on a weekend or if there’s anything else going on in Salt Lake, you might want to get a reservation. That place was full last night!

The food was great, the staff was helpful and prompt, and it was overall a very nice experience. I think I’ll go eat my left overs right now…


1 Kiersten September 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

I went to ZTejas for the first time a few months ago, and it was great. And it’s always fun to go up to the Gateway!

2 Badger Momma September 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm

We actually went to ZTejas last night. (Austin, Texas here!). Did you know that kids eat free on Sunday nights? We didn’t until a few weeks back. Sunday dinner at ZTejas has been a regular event for us since then.

If you go back, you MUST try the mushroom enchiladas. They are so good!

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