Herraduras Mexican Fire and Grill burst into the Lufkin TexMex scene in 2016, and it has been a staple since. Yet somehow or another, I had never tried them, so my husband and I checked them out one Sunday afternoon.

I have to say I don’t know how I could have missed this place. From the moment we walked in, we were met with hospitality, great decor and a fantastic smell.

We started out with complimentary chips and salsa and Skillet Chile con Queso. The salsa had a smooth tomato and cilantro-heavy flavor that was the perfect start to a meal. The mild spice and dark and bold flavors make the kind of taste you want to keep chasing but aren’t sad to let go.

The Skillet Chile con Queso delivers in both presentation and taste that at $4.99 is a steal. Unlike other versions of one of my favorite dishes, this queso isn’t trying to sell you short by being mostly made of cheese. Herraduras packs real ingredients into this dish that gives you a rounded experience. This is the kind of attention to detail and quality that you didn’t realize you were missing in other quesos.

My husband ordered the Hand Breaded Poblano. The reserved flavor relies heavily on the beef and seasoning to carry the dish to quality. The breading has a different texture that continues the dark and bold tones that seem to be Herraduras’ specialty.

I got the Tampaqueña Steak complete with fire-grilled fajita beef steak cut in thin and crispy strips, a pork tamale and a cheese enchilada topped with white queso. I adored this dish. The fantastic flavor of the meat paired incredibly well with the house pico de gallo, caramelized onions and queso blanco sauce inside a tortilla. The tamale was incredible, mainly due to the moist ground pork and a perfect composition without the excess grease that sometimes comes with tamales. The enchiladas also had a great balance of flavor and consistency, and together this makes one of the best dishes I’ve had as a whole in a while.

The rice and beans on the side of our dishes had that classic flavor pop that is expected from sit-down TexMex restaurants, and even then, it still delivers the dark undertones consistent in the rest of the dishes.

For dessert, we chose the sopapillas. I loved the dark, rich flavor accomplished from thick chocolate sauce and cinnamon sugar. This version of sopapillas was less crispy and flaky than other iterations, something I was less fond of but my husband was appreciative of. My main complaint was how frustrating they were to eat with the spoons provided.

Overall, Herraduras was a very enjoyable experience from the beautiful decor, kind staff and thematic music to the consistency, flavor and composition of the meal.

Herraduras is located at 3049 S. John Redditt Drive and is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call 936-899-7200.

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