With a swirl of curiously viscous cheese dip and a lime chaser, Josef Centeno brings the flavors of his Texas heritage to 4th and Main and in doing so, redeems an entire cuisine. In the same adept hands as neighboring restaurants Orsa & Winston (#4) and Bäco Mercat (#28), Tex-Mex classics such as Frito pie become towers of lengua chili-doused corn chips in a pocito cast-iron skillet. Short fideo noodles form a bed for bits of supple octopus and smoky sausage rounds. All hail the flour tortilla as it puffs into a crackling pillow for hoja santa sauce and carne guisada.
X-Factor: At Bar Amá the handmade flour tortillas give dishes real Texas cred. “I use a mix of fats,” says chef Josef Centeno. “Crisco, butter, lard, and sometimes suet.” TMI? The guac doesn’t care. Trust us.