El Rincon in Pflugerville (15 miles north of Austin) gained my attention when a friend relocated to the northern reaches of Travis County in a bid to escape paying 18k per annum in property taxes on his Austin house.
He succeeded but was left at loose ends by the dearth of good Tex Mex in his newfound home.
Until he found El Rincon.Soon enough he was on the phone breathlessly telling me about the little joint’s hand-rolled flour tortillas that he likened to an Indian chapati.
El Rincon, just off the town square of Pflugerville recently marked their third decade of operation. After a breakfast there this week I ducked my head in the office to tell the manager exactly what I thought about their tortilla work.
“Man, those are the best tortillas I’ve had in ages”
“Thank you sir, you wouldn’t want to get in an arm-wrestling match with those tias back there,” he laughed and then made a Popeye motion to indicate the girth of the workers’ biceps.A bacon, egg and cheese taco arrives to table with good heft. At under $2 there is value here. The eggs have been lightly scrambled on the plancha instead of my preferred ‘whipped in a bowl’ method but no matter; the tortilla is why I’m here and I’ll happily trade egg technique for the ladies’ ability to conjure frisson from little more than harina and water.
A carne guisada is plump with long-simmered beef in Mexican brown gravy. They’re not reinventing the wheel with this stew but it’s a good effort even if the meat is a bit dry.
Complimentary chips and salsa arrive the moment you’re seated. The red sauce is standard issue Tex Mex but a green is available on request and it’s one of the best things that comes out of the kitchen. Tomatillas are enlivened with plenty green chiles and chopped onions and perhaps just a bit too much salt. I suspect Morton’s iodized to be the culprit. Those tiny grains are nearly impossible to control once they start their flow from that fabled blue container.Over the past half decade I’ve worked my way across El Rincon’s menu and have yet to find a bad dish. The tamales are fat and homemade, the crispy taco will make you forget all about that Old El Paso you grew up eating, the rice and beans fairly sing with flavor and the enchiladas are among the best in central Texas.
Service, the achilles heel of far too many restaurants, is accomplished and professional. The restaurant employs a phalanx of smiling Mexican ladies who seem happy to trundle food about and answer queries from patrons.
I live in New Orleans and there is not one Mexican restaurant in town that wouldn’t be forced to shutter if El Rincon opened up next door.
200 Pecan St East
Hours of operation