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Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy

3001 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 755-2680

Abuelo's on Memorial Rd. in for north OKC

Abuelo's is now a chain with restaurants in several states (and two in OKC), but I first knew it as a local restaurant in Lubbock, Texas. I was not very impressed with its style of Tex-Mex food, nor did my opinion change when I first ate at the Oklahoma City restaurant in 2003.

Things changed pretty radically, though, when I returned in 2015. I had seen some reviews of the Lubbock restaurant in Texas Monthly that gave me an idea that Abuelo's had in fact changed for the better. I call it keeping up with the times, because in addition to the Tex-Mex menu offerings it also serves a number of more authentic items (or at least items that taste a lot better).

The interior of Abuelo's is very upscale and comfortable (and maybe a little pricey, but it is in line with several OKC Mexican restaurants which cost just as much but do not have food which is as good as here). In any case, after I tried the food I had no complaints about the prices they charged.

I think the bad news about Abuelo's is its Tex-Mex menu, including the Stacked Enchiladas which I ordered on my visit in 2003 (I know this is quite a while ago, but I don't have any more recent experiences). These enchiladas had a Tex-Mex flavor, but with a better sauce than usual which approached the Arizona style red enchiladas (not as spicy as New Mexico red sauce but with a fairly good flavor). At the time I thought these enchiladas were not bad, but overpriced and not that special.

Chips and salsa
Chips with three types of salsa

Fortunately I can provide an update, starting with the chips and salsa. There were three types of Salsa, ranging from moderately spicy to decidedly non-spicy (all were good, but the mild green salsa was not very exciting). The Chips were good, and they provide free refills of both chips and salsa.

Reynosa salad
Lighter Reynosa salad

The Lighter Reynosa Salad is the smaller version of the regular salad, and although it is on the appetizer menu it could easily make a meal for some people. I had a taste of it, and it proved to be fresh and flavorful (not a description I ascribe to many Mexican salads in Oklahoma City).

Carnitas tacos
Carnitas tacos

The Carnitas Tacos (recommended in one of the Texas Monthly reviews) turned out to be quite a good pick, with a flavorful Mexican style citrus taste. These reminded me of the tacos al pastor at Abel's (and other places), but I would say with not quite as good of a flavor for the meat. This is just because of my preference for the pastor meat, while carnitas remind me somewhat of a pork roast (when you really want a heavy meat dinner).

The Papas were especially flavorful (they had lots of cheese, but this might be the reason they were so good). The Beans were equally good, but there was not much that distinguished them from the ones served at other restaurants.

Other reviewers have recommended the stuffed chicken breast medallions. They were somewhat more expensive than the carnitas tacos, and seem to be one of the best dishes at the restaurant. While the carnitas tacos were not the best Mexican dish I have ever had, I certainly thought they were enjoyable and worth the money. Moreover, the staff made it a good experience, and I was impressed overall with the "new" Abuelo's.

My Comments in a Nutshell
What I like most:
  • The updated menu (to get the updated items, just order anything that is not Tex-Mex)
  • Service was very good
  • Dining room is very nice
  • Expensive, but the food is more worthwhile here than at other places which cost the same
Disappointments:
  • The Tex-Mex items on the menu
Things to know:
  • They have a bar area which is separate from the restaurant.
  • Some people have described the "updated menu" as fusion. I would describe some of the items as California style (such as the Reynosa Salad). Others are more authentic Mexican (such as the carnitas tacos).
  • The rating is a reflection of the fact that I really liked a couple of the items I tried, but on previous visits (both here and in Lubbock) I got Tex-Mex items which I was not crazy about (thus I am keeping the score down a little bit).

RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 22

Cuisine: Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Additional Locations: 17 E. Sheridan Ave. (Bricktown); Lubbock, TX; other cities in the South and Southwest
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Full Bar

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
Sep. 2, 2015

Number of Visits: 2

Best Items
Carnitas Tacos, Reynosa Salad

Special Ratings
Carnitas Tacos:
Reynosa Salad:
Stacked Enchiladas:
Papas:
Salsa:

Restaurant Menu
Abuelo's menu

Restaurant Web Site
Abuelo's



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