A couple of weeks ago I found myself having lunch with a dear friend, who with good fortune works in Southtown, a thriving and eclectic cultural and economic center of San Antonio. For those unfamiliar with this brilliant part of San Antonio, Southtown is the heart of the arts scene in San Antonio – home to Blue Star Art Complex and First Fridays. And while Southtown is modern and hip and young, this area also incorporates the King William District, steeped in tradition, with its grand historic homes, majestic century old oak trees and the iconic Pioneer Flour Company.
It is also home to some of the best restaurants in San Antonio, serving some seriously good eats, and as widely diverse as the area itself – there are places “in the scene” to be seen, small cafes and funky bars with a friendly neighborhood vibe, and long established restaurants that feel as homey and welcoming as your grandmother’s kitchen. El Mirador on South St. Mary’s Street falls wonderfully into the last category. In 1967, Julian and Maria Trevino opened El Mirador during HemisFair and it has been serving home-style, straight from the soul, Mexican food to its customers “as if they were guests in the Trevino home” ever since. http://elmiradorsatx.com/
I have been to El Mirador on many occasions, but quite some time had passed since my last visit. Not much had changed. This was a good thing. Instantly familiar and warm, El Mirador gave me a feeling of immediate comfort. Like the friend who I met for lunch, El Mirador and I picked up right where we left off, without skipping a beat.
Lunch started off as always with chips and salsa. The fresh tomato salsa was excellent with simple ingredients and bright flavor. The chips were crisp, not oily, and perfectly salted. I ordered the flautas, which were, on this occasion, good but not great. Even understanding that they were made in a very traditional style, they were still on the skimpy side. They were also a bit dry. So I was especially thankful for the dollops of sour cream and guacamole sitting happily atop. The flautas were not in the least greasy, however, the rice was a tad so. I cannot comment on the beans normally accompanying this plate, since I always eliminate them. My friend had the beef soft tacos, which looked and smelled fabulous, and must have been tasty because she ate every last bite.
While my meal was not exceptional, it was good. El Mirador consistently serves high-quality traditional Mexican food. Their caldos (soups) are outstanding and the only reason I passed on this day was because it was so hot outside. And while one of their fantastic margaritas would have solved this, I still had to go back to work and actually get some things accomplished.
I continue to, and will always, have a great fondness for El Mirador. As I drove away, I thought how it had been too long since I’d seen these two old friends, how I had missed them, and how I was not going to let so much time pass until our next visit.