COTULLA STYLE PIT B.B.Q.
4502 McPherson, 956-724-5747.
You can get decent, not-too-Americanized Mexican food at busy, barnlike Cotulla, which is famous for its barbecue and its huge variety of mariachis (borderspeak for “soft tacos”).
Guacamole: 4.5 (avocado and fixings). Chips: 3. Salsa: 1 (totally bland).
EL TACO TOTE
5603 San Dario, which is the northbound access road for I-35; 956-725-8382.
The best, most authentic place in town is a Mexico-based fast-food chain. The five spicy sauces on its salsa bar are all terrific, and the tender puerco adobado tacos—robust stewed pork in great corn tortillas—are heaven-sent.
Guacamole: 3.5. Chips: 3.5. Salsas: 5.
115 Hillside Road, 956-726-6173.
Locals love this cheerful little cafe, with its Formica tables and obligatory Mexican-village mural, for perfectly cooked huevos rancheros and breakfast mariachis on huge, homemade flour tortillas.
Guacamole: 3. Chips: 3. Salsa: 5.
TONO’S BAR AND GRILL
1202 Del Mar, 956-717-4999.
Toño’s offers a menu that’s slightly more authentic than most—including some interesting chile-based sauces—in a nicely decorated setting in a commercial building in the north part of town. Good enchiladas rojas.
Guacamole: 3. Chips: 2.5. Red and green salsas: 3.