El Patio - Westheimer
6444 Westheimer Rd | Houston, TX 77057
When a well-aged waiter mumbles, "hot plate, very hot plate," you've just connected with a half century of the city's Tex-Mex history. While the decor is strictly old-school, in the tradition of red leather booths and bull fighter posters, the original El Patio location doesn't feel tattered or dreary. And the off-the-lobby bar, jokingly called Club No Minors (referring to the legal posting on the door) has been one of southwest Houston's more enduring party spots. Fortunately, there's more than nostalgia to enjoy. A first-rate plate of onion-y enchiladas with chili gravy makes you appreciate the classics. Combination plates are a value here, especially the cool plate (salad, tacos, chili con queso) and hot plate (tamales, enchiladas) duos like the deluxe. A chili relleno filled with cheese and shrimp strikes a modern note. When Club No Minors is rocking, parking in the modest strip-center lot can be tough. Be prepared to walk a block or two or get valet service (available Thursday through Saturday evenings). Happy hour features beer and margarita discounts from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weeknights and Beer of the Day is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The pinata-decked party room can accommodate 100 guests for dinner of private events. Call for booking and catering information.