Visit to El Potrillo, ‘the little horse’

Visit to El Potrillo, ‘the little horse’

A Saturday night dinner date with my husband turned out to be a fun night at El Potrillo Mexican Restaurant in Beaumont. The brightly lit, festive atmosphere was the first thing to draw us into the cheery, comfortable and conveniently located eatery on the Eastex Freeway. Once inside, we found friendly servers and management, and very good food. When the salsa and chips were delivered to our table, we knew we were in good hands. The flavor-filled salsa was served hot and our chips were fresh and toasty warm, but the hit was the guacamole dip, also served without charge.

The menu offers many choices of standard appetizers, a la carte items, Mexican specials, soups, tostadas, enchiladas, Tex-Mex dinners, seafood specials, and combination plates. There is a fully stocked bar, kiddie corner and senior citizen menus, specials and delicious desserts.

Start your dinner off with one of over a dozen appetizers including seven different nacho selections, chicken soup, stuffed jalapenos, guacamole salad, or three dips — guacamole, Mexican guacamole and bowl cheese.

Our food was served promptly, piping hot and extremely tasty. I ordered the taco salad and found it to be generous in size with sour cream and guacamole added at no additional charge. The large, freshly baked tortilla shell was filled with ground beef, (choices include chicken or fajita beef), beans, lettuce, tomatoes and a variety of cheeses. My husband chose steak a la Mexicana with fajita beef cooked with onions, tomatoes and green jalapenos, served with rice, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and flour tortillas.

The seafood specials looked tempting, offering shrimp soup, shrimp cocktail, hot shrimp apaseo, an El Pirata Plate featuring tilapia fish fillet, shrimp, rice, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and sliced avocado. Parents dining with children will be pleased to know a dozen choices are available for the boys and girls or for seniors who wish to order smaller portions at reasonable pricing.

Kiddos can be picky — enchiladas, tamales, crispy beef tacos plus favorites like hamburgers, grilled cheese and chicken fingers with plates starting at $3.29.

The menu is filled with plenty of dinners to choose from and have nearly two dozen Tex-Mex Dinners such as the El Potrillo Special, which is a guacamole salad, chile con queso, crispy beef taco, stuffed bell pepper, cheese enchiladas and tamale served with Spanish rice and refried beans for only $9.99.

The smell of sizzling fajitas filled the air, so we can’t forget those. You can order for one, two or four people. Also on the dinner menu are pork chops, shrimp poblano (poblano pepper stuffed with shrimp and other goodies), costillas asadas (beef ribs) and a 10-ounce T-bone steak.

Television sets are placed in strategic locations around the dining room and fans were watching a heated soccer match as we dined. We noticed that the servers were on their toes, anticipating what customers might want before they asked. No glass stood empty for long and every customer we observed checking out complimented the manager on duty about his or her dining experience.

The hit of the night for my husband was the huge serving of fried ice cream he decided to order after seeing one served to a guest at an adjoining table. El Potrillo offers flan, the fried ice cream, cheese cake, the popular cake tres leches, and sopapillas.

Cheers to margaritas as every Tuesday and Wednesday you get half-priced margaritas, any flavor, frozen or on the rocks small. If beer is your choice of adult beverage, then El Potrillo has you covered. Enjoy all beer for $1.99 every Thursday and Saturday. Happy Hour occurs every Monday-Friday with regular magaritas just $2.79 from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

Lunch specials are served daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and they are priced starting at $5.49 including enchiladas (sour cream, regular, green, shrimp, taco salad, Burrito Texano, chalupas, stuffed bell pepper dinners, carne guisada, tacos al carbon, quesadillas, jalisquillo fajita, which is fajita steak marinated in a blend of Apaseo’s secret spcies, carnitas (fried pork), fajita baked potato and many more.

Wondering about the name, El Potrillo, I asked the manager on duty, Hugo Manriguez, exactly what it meant. Laughingly, he said, “Oh, everyone asks about that. It means ‘little colt’ or ‘little horse’ in Spanish. “Our owner loves horses and so he named the restaurant he has owned for about four years now ‘the little horse.’” Guests will notice amidst the bright décor several statues and paintings of small horses or horses and colts emphasizing the choice of name for this fun restaurant and bar.

El Potrillo is at 5920 Eastex Freeway in Beaumont. Call (409) 896-5995.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788

or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com