On Friday, El Tiempo Cantina owner Roland Laurenzo announced he would be opening his fifth location today. At a media preview on Saturday, Roland and his family showed off the new location. It marks the family's return to the street where Roland's mother Ninfa launched tacos al carbon as a global phenomenon. Laurenzo served as his own general contractor on the project, which is the first El Tiempo built from the ground up; he took design inspiration from the best aspects of the other locations as well as restaurants in Mexico he admires. His son Dominic serves as the executive chef, and the menu shows the same familiar dishes that have earned El Tiempo a spot on the Eater 38.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new restaurant is its sheer size. The listed capacity is 400. They can spread out between the large bar, a central dining room, a wrap-around adjacent dining room with doors that open to the patio. To feed the masses, the kitchen has two full lines. If the restaurant has a theme, it's horses. They are horse sculptures everywhere: above the bar, tucked into corners and even a bench on the patio. It adds a Western/Texan touch to the space.
For thoughts about the food, three local bloggers have already posted their thoughts. Mike Riccetti writes that the margaritas are less sweet. Jack Tyler shares some of his favorite dishes from the menu. This Eating Our Words post considers how the restaurant fits into the family's history. Finally, Urban Swank contributes their thoughts on a restaurant they consider to be "Tried and True."
· El Tiempo Cantina [Official]
· El Tiempo and Del Frisco's Grille Opening Soon [-EHOU-]
· The Essential 38 Houston Restaurants, January 2013 [-EHOU-]
· El Tiempo Cantina on Navigation, Opening Today, Comes Full Circle [Eating Our Words]
· El Tiempo on Navigation Opening Tomorrow [Houston Examiner]
· El Tiempo on Navigation a First Look and Taste [Jack Tyler Dines]
· Urban Swank Does...El Tiempo on Navigation [Urban Swank]