[Editor’s note: This article appeared in our April 2020 issue but was held for publication online amid last year’s Covid-19 shutdowns. As of February 2021, Ma & Pa’s Tex-Mex BBQ is open for takeout and delivery.]
Log cabin digs adorned with a Mexican flag transport diners to southernmost Texas. On one wall of the small dining room, family photos pay homage to the owner’s parents.
Alex Martinez was raised in Brownsville, Texas, but his family had homes on both sides of the border. Here, Mexican flavors lead, but his fall-apart brisket is pure Lone Star.
The base menu is tight, organized into entrées, tacos and salads. This is amplified with specials like a burrito crammed with pulled pork and tater tots, or minty albondigas (meatball) soup. Among entrées, Tex-Mex nachos have an avid fan base. Top them with Martinez’s tender brisket, smoked for hours out back. For two bucks, add yellow rice and black beans (worth it). Tacos (above) come on house-made tortillas—flour, traditional in Tex-Mex, as opposed to corn. Also traditional Tex-Mex are lettuce, tomato, onion and crema, Mexico’s answer to sour cream.
Smoky salsa brings real heat. It’s served steaming, with house-made tortilla chips. This presentation is “very common at the border on both sides,” says Martinez. “Here, people are surprised by it.”Click here to leave a comment
What's a Quick Bite? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.