Eddie Cervantes has seen and served a lot of Tex-Mex. For 22 years, he ruled over Primo’s, the popular and always-packed restaurant on McKinney Avenue. It was the favorite late-night hangout for Dallas chefs. Dean Fearing was a regular. Cervantes sold Primo’s in 2008 and worked a year at Hully & Mo before he took a couple of years to get back in the Tex-Mex business. His modest restaurant, located on Haskell near Munger, seats 42 inside and 44 on the dog-friendly patio. White walls are covered with flat-screen TVs and neon beer signs. The patio faces the parking lot and could use some potted plants, but maybe Cervantes is waiting for better weather. The long wooden bar is always full. Former Primo’s bartender Jorge Parra spends most of his time shaking margaritas—strong margaritas. The menu is long and full of the usual nachos, tacos, and enchiladas, but the kitchen also turns out a decent carne guisada, slow-cooked sirloin in rich Mexican gravy. The meat in the pulled pork tacos was dry and stringy, but the carne picosa de pollo—sautéed chicken with fresh jalapeños, tomato, and onions, a side of delicate Spanish rice, and a bowl of ham-studded bean soup—hit the spot on a chilly Dallas night.
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