I'm not sure what the first thing that crosses your mind is when you think of your birthday, but for me it is José Tejas and Dairy Queen! Alright, until last week I had never been to the former, but it had been looming heavy on my mind for a while. Sometimes you just need to go eat at a crazy, cheesy suburban restaurant right outside of a mall. Ya know?
Advice enthusiastically accepted!
I have always been against fusion restaurants, but now there is one I can firmly stand behind. José Tejas bravely combines the best of both Tex-Mex and Cajun cuisines, and has the sombrero-adorned crawfish to show for it!
On a weekend, you are almost guaranteed to be waiting for a bit at this popular place, so grab a spot at the bar and get some well-priced margaritas. The bare-bones Jose grande ($5.50, not shown) was better than expected for such a place. Add a fruit or more expensive tequila and it's just a buck more. The bar area has plenty of room to hang out and your wait will go by faster than you expect.
The menu is loaded with options that combine Tex-Mex and cajun, and thankfully I came with a group of nine so I could see and taste many things. I had my eyes on the blackened chicken fajitas ($10.88, below) the entire time though. The rub used was exceptional, the chicken still juicy, I was impressed. It comes with healthy portions of tortillas, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and rice and beans. A side of guacamole costs you an extra 95 cents.
The best part of the crawfish etouffee ($9.97, below) is unfortunately the cornbread, a rich, buttery joy. The dish is far too salty on its own and needs to be toned down a bit to let its spices emerge.
All in all, you go to these types of places knowing pretty much what to expect and also must keep your expectations low. But José Tejas is a winner, pure and simple.
Now it's time for ice cream.
700 US Highway 1 North, Iselin, NJ