POLLOK — Andale is another one of those recently opened restaurants in East Texas that I had repeatedly been told I needed to check out. I finally got around to it, and boy, am I glad I found this place.

Tucked inside a gas station on U.S. Highway 69 in Pollok, Andale is a small, intimate dining experience with an extensive menu full of authentic Mexican cuisine and very kind staff.

I chose a smorgasbord of Horchata, Salsa and Queso, Nachos, Sopes, the Super Huarache and a Torta.

The Horchata’s smooth blend of spices made a great addition to each dish. The Queso had a dark, milky cream flavor accented by peppers and tomatoes. The Salsa was a light and peppery experience with the perfect amount of spice. Both sides seemed a bit lackluster apart, but together they made the perfect appetizer.

The Sopes pastor were delicious. The pastor is tender and crisp and carries an excellent flavor. The tortilla base is crisp and fluffy, and even the refried beans taste fresh, especially with the lettuce and crumbly cheese.

The beef and chicken Nachos were oh so good. The meat is the focal point, fajita-style that is tender and delicious. The chicken carries a perfect flavor and spice combo similar to the pastor. The creamy queso topping went well with the pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. To top it all off, the portion was huge.

I chose the barbacoa for the base of my Torta, and once again, the meat excelled. The breading was different, however, and I wished the tomatoes were diced rather than sliced. When paired with the medium spice green sauce, the flavor became complete.

The Super Huarache was pretty darn good. The steak is incredible — thinly sliced with perfect fat ratio. The long tortilla has a great texture. The overall flavor felt like it could use a boost, however. Pairing the Torta with the medium green sauce kicked it up a notch.

Andale is at 3889 U.S. Highway 69 north in Pollok. It is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The phone number is 899-0929.

Olive Waldorf is a pseudonym for the food critic of The Lufkin Daily News. Her email is foodcritic@lufkindailynews.com.

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