It has to be a little intimidating to open a restaurant on South Eola Drive, knowing that every other restaurant and bar that's opened its doors on the strip has met with an unfortunate demise. Graze, Sanctuary Diner (formerly Fifi's Patisserie) and iMansion (formerly the Beacon) are its victims, and only time will tell if Mucho Tequila and Tacos, situated on the ground floor of the 101 Eola condo building, joins the list.Â
Unlike those previous establishments, this boisterous joint appeals to the commoner's palate, but the vibe is still decidedly urban. A mix of diners partakes in their representative, but first-rate, samplings of Tex-Mex fare: the standard tacos, burritos, chimis and fajitas all pass muster. I enjoyed the tacos al pastor ($2.95); tacos come stuffed with slow-roasted pork, spiced beef, chicken, steak or shrimp. The burrito ($6.95), a simple offering with nicely seasoned beans, was also tasty, but there's one item separating this taqueria from the others ' the trio of deep-fried habaÃ±eros ($5.95). Eat them all and you get a T-shirt, or so it says on the menu. Apparently, too many patrons were downing the peppers without any problem, so they decided to inject the fiery little buggers with Dead Heat hot-sauce extract for good measure.Â
After one bite, the oral conflagration (combined with seismic quavers it set off in the deepest recesses of my abdominal cavity) was enough to make me quit. Thankfully, 101 agave-based palliatives (read: tequila) lie in wait. And like the blistering hot habaÃ±eros, Mucho's remains mucho caliente â?¦ at least for the moment.