Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen
BY MIKE PUCKETT
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Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen is located on Louetta Rd. just a couple miles east of Hwy 249 -the Tomball Parkway. There are so many good restaurants in this area and then there are some that are great. Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen is in a league of their own.
Mexican food is my favorite cuisine! I love it every which way but not. Authentic Mexican food has always been a real favorite but, it’s a little harder to find so I don’t get to enjoy it as much. Well, Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen changed that in North Houston. I couldn’t wait to pop in and experience the fresh spin they put on authentic Mexican food… so that is exactly what I did.
As you walk up to the restaurant, you immediately get the vibe they got going on at Ambriza. I love the amazingly beautiful decor and artwork throughout the restaurant. You can tell these guys put a lot of time and effort to give it just the right feel. Inside and out you find the La Calavera Catrina theme – a symbol of hope for many in its time. I highly recommend you walk around and take it all in.
Ambriza is a social Mexican kitchen, and what that means is they have social tables and shareable dishes to go with many social events throughout the year. I hear the Sunday Brunch is wonderful and am already looking forward to my next visit.
You can’t go to a Mexican restaurant without diving straight into some sharables and margaritas, right? Well, at Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen it’s no different. They are known for their specialty – the House Margarita – and it’s always made fresh with fresh-squeezed lime, lemon and orange juice and premium tequila.
We also enjoyed the Passion Fruit Habanero Margarita – this was my favorite, nice and spicy!
When the Street Corn got to the table it brought me right back to the streets of Mexico. Elote is one of my VERY favorite street foods and the Street Corn here at Ambriza did not disappoint. You get 3 mini corn cobs topped with garlic aioli, crumbled queso fresco and chile lime salt. Each layer has its own flavor profile that is just right. If you have never tried this dish, it’s a must!
The Tostones arrived at about the same time and you could see everyone’s eyes light up! Simply beautiful. The crispy green plantain was topped with Beef Picadillo, crema, pickled onions, cilantro and queso fresco. The toppings were piled high on the plantain and made for a wonderful combination. At Ambriza, the pickled onions really stand out and specifically in this social starter.
The Tostones were paired with one of my favorite craft cocktails of the night. The Casa Bella is built with Casamigos Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and topped with Prosecco. Really refreshing – while keeping that tequila taste I oh-so-love!
Do you enjoy fresh, house-made flour tortillas? How about melted Menonita cheese served with Mexican chorizo? Ha! Well, then you will love the Queso Horneado. I literally could have enjoyed this as my full meal. The thick cheese fits just perfectly in the steaming hot tortillas. The chorizo is so rich it makes my cheeks pucker just thinking about it. Paired with the Passion Fruit Habanero Margarita? SOMETHING SPECIAL!
We ordered several different entrees and shared them family style: Shrimp and Beef Fajitas, Enchiladas Rojas, Pescado a la Veracruzana, Tampiqueña Steak and Cochinita Pibil. All the dishes were amazing, but my two favorites were the Fajitas and Pescado a la Veracruzana.
The Shrimp and Beef Fajitas arrived in a sizzling molcajete. Something about that sound really does it for me. The surf and turf goodies were served with Spanish Rice, Charro Black Beans, grilled onions, grilled cactus, sour cream and guacamole. This is a staple for sure! The shrimp was so fresh and the fajitas were cooked to perfection. I quickly wrapped it all up with the house-made tortillas and I think I lost time for a second. Heavenly.
The Pescado a la Veracruzana here at Ambriza Mexican Social Kitchen is a fish lover’s paradise! The crispy red snapper is delivered whole on a bed of rice, topped with Veracruzana sauce and served with a side of tostones. The fish was extremely fresh and the snapper tasted like it was swimming in the Gulf that morning. The meat was so flaky and moist and came right off the bone. Every bite was better than the last. The tostones are a nice touch and I piled some snapper on top and ate it like a tapas. I like, I like a lot!
Now, if you have been following me very long at all, you know I love my Leches! We enjoyed the Cuatro Leches with shaved chocolate and coconut. What a treat! The sweet, milked-soaked cake was met with a tasty coconut flavor and a hint of chocolate. Just take a look at the photography and see for yourself. Amazing!
Another one of my street food favorites are Churros, and at Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen they have a version called Churro Bites. The cajeta-filled, cinnamon sugar-dusted Churro Bites are dipped in La Abuelita chocolate sauce. Ah, the perfect end to the perfect authentic Mexican experience!
I can’t say enough about Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen. The Mexican food here takes authentic flavors and crafts them into an experience that you will not find anywhere else in Houston. The craft cocktails and margaritas are outstanding and unique. The truly social atmosphere puts a smile on everyone in the house – including the staff. This is the type of place I could enjoy a few times a week. Ha! Seriously.
Good Eats Houston Recommends…
3 mini corn cobs topped with garlic aioli, crumbled queso fresco and chile lime salt
Paired with: House Margarita
Orange, lemon, lime, triple sec, lemon-lime soda, Jose Cuervo Reposado
Crispy green plantain topped with beef picadillo, crema, pickled onions, cilantro and queso fresco
Paired with: Casa Bella
Casamigos blanco tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar topped with prosecco
Melted Menonita cheese, served with Mexican chorizo and fresh flour tortillas. Substitute Fajita or chicken
Paired with: Passion Fruit Habanero Margarita
Fresh orange, lemon, lime, passion fruit, habanero, triple sec, lemon-lime soda, Jose Cuervo Reposado
Shrimp and Beef Fajitas
Sizzling molcajete. Spanish rice. Charo black beans. Grilled onions. Grilled chilles.
Grilled cactus. Sour cream. Guacamole
Paired with: Agave Collins
Tres agaves, blanco tequila, fresh lemon juice, spicy mango syrup and topa chico
Carne asada smothered with tomato casabel chile sauce, topped with crema, queso fresco and crispy potatoes
Paired with: Caribbean Mule
Flor de cana, 4 year white rum, Bols crème de cassis, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, Stoli ginger beer
Pescado a la Veracruzana
Crispy whole red snapper, served over rice, topped with Veracruzana sauce and side of tostones
Paired with: Stesti Dark Lager
Brewed with seven different malts roasted and kiln in Europe, using the traditional decoction method, a balance of bittering and aromatic Czech hops and extended cold fermentation
Grilled ribeye served with mole enchilada, black refito beans and fried ripe plantain, topped with queso fresco and guacamole
Paired with: Anejo Old Fashioned
Casa Noble Anejo tequila, agave syrup, angostura bitters, and angostura orange bitters
Pibil style braised pork, served with pickled red onions, topped with cilantro on corn tortilla
Paired with: Napa Cellars Cabernet
Elegant aromas of plum and dark fruit alongside flavors of black fruits, red fruits and a hint of cinnamon and tobacco
Shaved chocolate and coconut
Cajeta-filled cinnamon sugar-dusted churro bites with La Abuelita chocolate sauce
Both Paired with: Carajillo 43
Espresso and Licor 43
PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT
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