Candente blends Tex-Mex tradition with barbecue greatness.
Candente brings barbecue and Tex-Mex together in Houston. (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
A Candente feast (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
A Tex-Mex staple (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
A colorful frozen margarita (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
Tostadas (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
Candente's guacamole is worthy.
A trio of must-haves: chips, salsa, and marg. (Photo by Shannon O'Hara)
Candente offers combination plates meant to be the best of both worlds.
It’s surprising that the idea of cross-pollinating Southern smoked barbecue-style meats with Mexican flavors hasn’t been more pervasive in Texas. But the spicy, smoky, meat-focused trend is certainly picking up heat. Innovative restaurant owner Michael Sambrooks jumped on board when the opportunity arose to open a new concept near his popular barbecue joint The Pit Room in the Montrose area.
Granted, from all appearances, Candente resembles other Tex-Mex restaurants that dot Houston, from the piped-in mariachi music to the colorful floor-to-ceiling Day of the Dead mural. But inside the open kitchen, the custom Josper oven is connected to a wood-burning grill — and on the menu, two beloved Texas cuisines meld on one cohesive menu.
Here, the nachos are topped with a half-pound of smoked brisket, refried beans, cheddar cheese, pickled red onion, barbecue sauce, cilantro, crema and salsa roja ($20). The requisite guacamole is heaped atop shredded iceberg lettuce with a side of garlic, jalapeño, onion and tomato to adjust the seasoning to your taste ($12.50).
Don’t miss the spicy ceviches, available as a trio that includes campechana with layers of smoked mussels, shrimp, octopus and avocado in a piquant Mexican cocktail sauce ($18). Each ceviche comes with a side of diced peppers or hot pepper sauce to inch up the heat index. The chicken flauta also gets a whiff of the mesquite ($12), and The Tampiqueña tops a nine-ounce Niman Ranch prime-grade ribeye with two gooey cheese enchiladas (the depth of the gravy alone could sell this dish) and grilled onions sizzling in chile lime butter ($37).
Behind the bar, beverage director David Maness uses 100 percent agave Espolon tequila as the base for his margaritas, which he edges with sea salt. He offers a fun take on grapefruit juice-tinged Paloma with a splash of Aperol, while dark rum tops the piña colada for a warming feel. End your meal with a spoonful of comp soft-serve ice cream to quell the fire within.
Candente is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with happy hour running Monday through Friday.
Candente, 4306 Yoakum Boulevard, 346.867.1156.