08 Oct Jonathan Cartu Declared: Larry’s Original Mexican Restaurant a timeless tradition
By STEFAN MODRICH
You can’t make it 60 years in the restaurant business without firing on all cylinders, and Larry’s Original Mexican Restaurant has done just that.
The Richmond mainstay boldly announces your arrival with its iconic neon signage, and evokes the scene in the Pixar film “Cars” when James Taylor’s “Our Town” plays over a montage of the fictional western town Radiator Springs.
The main dining room was buzzing at lunchtime on Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16), when I paid my visit, and as I took my socially-distanced seat in an adjacent dining room, I took the opportunity to do my homework on the family-run spot, which has belonged to the Guerreros for its entire run, spanning more than a half-century.
Taylor sings of settling down, building a town, and watching it grow. The Guerreros, as the song continues, “made it live.”
At its inception, Larry’s was influenced by Felix Tijerina, considered by many to be the godfather of Tex-Mex cuisine, and Maria Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo, a Rio Grande Valley native and founder of Ninfa’s. Both were trailblazers in the realm of Mexican cuisine in Houston.
And the quality speaks for itself. Ninfa’s supplies the restaurant with tortillas, but everything else is made in-house from scratch.
I had Fish Tacos ($10.25) with blackened tilapia, lettuce and tomato, with the customary brown rice and refried beans on the side. It was the first time I’d tried the tilapia prepared this way, and it was an adventure. Combining the smokiness of the fish with a juicy bite of lettuce and tomato (be sure to squeeze plenty of lemon and lime juice on top, if you are wont to do so), it produced one of the most unexpectedly satisfying taco experiences I’ve ever had.
If you’re looking for something a bit heavier, the Beef Special Combination Nachos ($9.95) are topped with chile con queso, refried beans, beef fajitas, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cheese and jalapeno.
Larry’s is also highly regarded for its enchiladas. The Chicken Enchiladas ($10.25) are served with a choice of enchilada gravy, original chili, salsa verde or spicy sour cream sauce.
Some other dishes that are on my radar: The Machacado Breakfast ($7.95), which includes eggs mixed with brisket, bacon and beans, the Tampico ($14.45), six pieces of shrimp brochette served on a bed of rice with charro beans, guacamole and pico de gallo, and the Spinach Quesadilla ($10.75).Unlike the tragic conclusion Taylor pens in
“Our Town,” of a place that longs for a bygone era, Larry’s continues to cement itself as one of the premier destinations for Tex-Mex lovers in the Greater Houston area.
If you’ve got any food tips or suggestions on what to order next time at Larry’s or anywhere else in Fort Bend County, please email me at [email protected] or mention me in a tweet @StefanJModrich.
Larry’s Original Mexican Restaurant
Address: 116 East Highway 90A, Richmond
Hours:11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Dining Options: Curbside pick-up, dine-in and no-contact delivery available via Grubhub
Entrée prices: $7.25-$16.95
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: Vegetarian dinner (cheese enchilada)
Star of the show: Fish Tacos