By JD Herman
On the very edge of Bellaire Boulevard’s famous Chinatown is a Mexican restaurant with outstanding recipes from north-central and coastal Mexico. La Cruderia Michelada Bar is the wonderous culinary offering of Jorge Loredo and his sister, Chef Norma E. Loredo. Do not let the word “bar” mislead you. Yes, their Michelada game is legendary, and there is plentiful space to relax and watch a soccer match or drink and enjoy your friends, but the food at La Cruderia is absolutely exceptional. The Southwest Management District has many international flavors to choose from, but this may well be the best seafood and traditional Central Mexican cuisine on the entire Houston map.
We sat down at the bar and were greeted in Spanish by a nice young man. As I struggled with my horrible Spanish he immediately switched to English and walked us through the drink menu. Turned out the barkeep was the owner, Jorge Loredo, and his easy going, affable style is perfectly suited to hosting and working the counter service. Obviously La Cruderia specializes in Michelada’s, so I ordered the standard to start, the Miche Claásica. If you’ve never had a Michelada imagine a Bloody Mary but with beer instead of vodka with an extra kick of spice. They have many “Miche” offerings and specialty versions to choose from including the deliciously sweet mango and strawberry. On the savory side, consider their extra spicy version called the Miche Picosita. La Cruderia also offers a non-alcoholic option, the Clásica Virgen, it is both kiddo friendly and perfect for the Saturday night designated driver.
The real show stopper at La Cruderia though is the food. Inspired traditional dishes and riffs on more standard Tex-Mex, the menu absolutely blew us away. We started (on Jorge’s recommendation) with Tortilla Soup and were not disappointed. A giant bowl with chunks of queso fresco and fresh avocado in a tomato based broth. The soup carried just a hint of heat and a ton of flavor. Strips of blue and yellow corn tortillas added depth and texture. This is one of the best Tortilla Soups I have tried, and it was the perfect starter on a cool winter day.
Next up, the traditional ceviche tostadas. I always think of summer and the beach when I think of ceviche. Accordingly, it was a great contrasting dynamic after the wintery warmth of the tortilla soup. Their ceviche is traditional, marinated in lime and punctuated with a tangy mix of onions and peppers.
Our mains were Tacos Gober and Tacos de Conchita Pibil. Both came in feather light corn tortillas toasted to perfection, offering a flaky crunch without being heavy. The Tacos Gober are a house specialty of Chef Norma. A spicy shrimp with cabbage and cheeses served with chiles secos mayo. They are an explosion of flavor and the serving of three was devoured in record time.
I was so full by the time I started on the Tacos Pibil that I didn’t think I could make much of a dent. However the pork was invitingly tender and flavorful, accented with cilantro and pickled onions that I just could not stop eating. The Tacos Pibil is a special menu item, but if you stop in and they have it available, do not pass up your chance! Eating their pork is equivalent to your mouth winning the lottery. You will be absolutely delirious from the flavor fiesta. La Cruderia Michelada Bar is yet another exceptional culinary option with some great cold bevs available in the Southwest Management District. Go say hello to the Loredo family and their new endeavor. They are a Houston original!
La Cruderia Michelada Bar
8394 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036