Restaurants

Charismatic Chef Armed With His Grandmother’s Recipes Brings Authentic Mexican Flavors to The Woodlands — A Closer Look at Uli’s Kitchen

New Lunch Menu and VIP Club Boosts This Alden Bridge Favorite

BY // 03.15.23

This is the second in a series of stories on distinctive businesses that help make The Woodlands be The Woodlands. Up next, Uli’s Kitchen, a mom-and-pop that is anything but just another chain.

Just shy of  its two-year anniversary, one of The Woodlands’ unique restaurants is launching a lunch menu and a VIP club for diners. Uli’s Kitchen in Alden Bridge village is all about Mexican food like a Mexican grandmother would make it. David Ulises Alcaraz, Chef Uli as he’s known to regulars, is a native of Orizaba, Veracruz who uses some recipes handed down from his grandmother.

Of course, Chef Uli himself is part of the draw and the charm of the restaurant.

“He the walks the floor, he talks to his guests,” Bonnie Alcarez, Uli’s wife and co-owner of the restaurant, tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “And the passion he has  — not just for the food but for the experience — shines so clearly.”

Uli’s new lunch menu features some new, lighter dishes at a lower price point than dinner and is available from 11 to 4 pm. Look for pairings like an enchilada and a cup of soup.

The VIP club is new and will allow Uli’s to share special offers with diners and recognize birthdays. After all, Chef Uli loves to celebrate his customers.

Outdoor Dining with Bering's

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  • Bering's Gift's April 2024
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The chef moved from Georgia to The Woodlands area and opened Uli’s Kitchen with the help of his Texas native wife in May of 2021. General manager Julio Cadena also has been at Uli’s since it opened.

Chef Uli spent years developing recipes while working at Atlanta area restaurants. Some of the most popular dishes at Uli’s Kitchen come from those recipes handed down from his grandmother.

Getting Into the Uli’s Kitchen Menu

The sopes ($12) came next — three on the plate — mine topped with carne asada with queso fresco and sour cream.  The meat was flavorful and lightly warm, and the sopes were crispy enough on the outside to hold the topping, but soft on the inside.

Finally, finishing with the Osso-Bucco en Pipian de Cachahuate, ($34) is one good option.  The large portion of pork came out moist and tender, with a beautiful upright presentation. The mole is sprinkled with peanuts, which adds a nice crunch.  It is served with rice, avocado and black beans and went into a tortilla for a taco.

The presentation on the osso is unique at Uli's Kitchen.
The presentation on the osso is unique at Uli’s Kitchen.

According to Chef Uli, the most popular dish is the Enchiladas Suizas ($18) — shredded chicken rolled in three corn tortillas topped with sour cream poblano sauce, chihuahua cheese and crema Mexicana and served over black bean purée.

Uli’s Kitchen is an open and inviting place, with one glass wall that opens to trees, and a large, colorful mural showcasing Mexican cities and cultures on the other. One of the photos is from Uli’s hometown. Uli and Bonnie Alcaraz want to make sure diners see Mexico’s colorful settings while providing a glimpse of its rich cultural heritage.

Uli’s Kitchen seats 97, with 10 seats at a large, well-stocked bar. Happy hour deals are available Tuesdays through Fridays with margaritas $6. Several menu items are half off during happy. hour, including elotes and flautas.

Chef Uli’s response to supply chain issues and price fluctuations has been to switch to a digital-only menu, allowing him to showcase only dishes that are available that day.

Uli’s Kitchen is located at 8021 Research Forest Dr., Suite A.  It is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 am to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 10 pm and Sundays from noon to 9 pm.  Reservations are suggested Friday through Sunday nights, and can be made by calling (281) 323-4853.

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