Houston's well-lauded Enchilada Queen is branching out her business yet again. Over the weekend, Sylvia Casares opened her third spot, over on Eldridge in the heart of the Energy Corridor— and, in a departure that fans will notice immediately, branded it not as Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, but as simply Sylvia's.
"I have named this location Sylvia's, because everyone knows about my enchiladas," she says with the charming smile and welcoming air that has been her trademark for two decades. "I want my guests to discover the rest of my menu, like my delicious mesquite wood-fire grilled fajitas, Carne Asada, filet mignon, pork chop, quail and sea bass."
Ths Sylvia's, like its Woodway counterpart, has a live mesquite fire grill. And anyone's who's been to Woodway will also notice similar décor in the new Eldridge restaurant. But there are differences: The new eatery has a private party room, which will be home to Saturday cooking classes, starting up this fall. Casares also designed the space with a wrap-around patio."It's too hot to sit outside in August, but just wait for October and November. It will be very popular," she said.
The Sylvia's on Eldridge is the largest of the three locations (the first is out west on Westheimer), with space for 150 diners hungry for Casares's home cooking, honed both through her experience working as a food scientist for Uncle Ben's Rice and from growing up along the border in Brownsville.
There's something else readily apparent in Casares's new place. "There is a 'poblano kitchen' near the front door, because it represents the hearth, the center of every home, and this is my home. It helps me say 'Welcome to my home.'"
· All Coverage of Sylvia's [-EHOU-]