Indoor Mexican restaurant Panfila Cantina offers daily brunch and a full bar

Not that way where people meet cute over croissants and Coldplay. The natives of Mexico met while studying at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. They fell in love and found their way to San Antonio, where she worked with celebrity San Antonio chef Andrew Weissman at Signature at La Cantera and he co-founded Tlahco Mexican Kitchen, one of the best Mexican restaurants in one of the best cities for Mexican restaurants. .

Building their life together as an engaged couple, it’s time for Hinojosa and Gonzalez to build something of their own. So they cut ties with their old jobs and found a new space on Bulverde Road, near Stone Oak, where they opened Panfila Cantina in April, together with business partners Anjan Goli and Narender Bangla. The four partners also own the adjoining Spice Indian Fine Cuisine.

Mexican restaurant and bar opened in April on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.”/>

Panfila Cantina Mexican restaurant and bar opened in April on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.

Mike Sutter/staff

Set in a modestly decorated space with a full bar out front, an outdoor patio, a dining area with basket lights, and an Instagram wall of red paper roses, Panfila is less Tex-Mex, more Mex. -Mex. Hinojosa runs the kitchen and the dinner menu consists of street food, enchiladas, moles, tacos and enchiladas, while a daily brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. takes up much of the dinner menu. but leans heavily on chilaquiles and eggs.

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Let’s talk about eggs. This whole “100 ways to cook an egg” thing is part of the culinary school canon, and Hinojosa held a master class on three of these ways.

His huevos rancheros started with a base of fried potato quesadillas for a game of crunch and starch that made them more than just sunny eggs with salsa. A chilaquile omelet turned a classic French foldback into a bold Mexican breakfast with a heart of fried tortilla strips simmered in guajillo pepper salsa that looked and tasted like a warm desert sunrise.

The brunch menu at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio, includes, clockwise from top, huevos rancheros, enmolado chilaquiles, an omelette with chilaquiles and a <a class=Mexican street food specialty called huevos a la guajolota with eggs and chilaquiles on a bolillo roll.”/>

The brunch menu at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio, includes, clockwise from top, huevos rancheros, enmolado chilaquiles, an omelette with chilaquiles and a Mexican street food specialty called huevos a la guajolota with eggs and chilaquiles on a bolillo roll.

Mike Sutter/staff

Scrambled eggs had their bright brunch moment at a Mexican street food classic called huevos a la guajolota which was like stoner food for the soul, an all-in-one collection of toasted bolillo bread, chilaquiles smoked chipotle, egg parfait and an avalanche of queso panela cubes.

The blurred lines between migas and chilaquiles are forever drawn by tortilla chips in San Antonio. Anything with scrambled eggs and fries is called one or the other and everyone acts like it’s OK. And maybe it is – at least until Panfila weighed in with chilaquiles enmolados like the gods intended, with full-size tortilla chips simmered in a sweet, smoky mole sauce. and that’s it, except for the sesame seeds. No eggs, no pico de gallo, no cheese. Just that euphoric chilaquile tipping point between chewy and crunchy, because that’s all you need.

This mole also turned roast chicken into performance art, each piece painted like a cup in a glazed shop with just enough sauce to impart flavor without overwhelming the chicken. The tortilla soup struck a similar balance of spice and protein with a chipotle and chicken broth rendered the color of the saltillo tile, a rich and satisfying bowl with a bouquet of tortilla strips and fresh avocado.

The tortilla soup includes chicken-chipotle broth, chicken, tortilla strips, queso panela and avocado at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.

The tortilla soup includes chicken-chipotle broth, chicken, tortilla strips, queso panela and avocado at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.

Mike Sutter/staff

In a restaurant operating outside the city’s Mexican food comfort zones, some things are bound to go wrong. I didn’t like Panfila’s hamburguesa, a round beef patty on a long bolillo, sort of sloppy and dry at the same time, although the side of chips with salsa and jalapeños was better than the fries could never be. Al Pastor’s mini tacos tasted more like unseasoned pork, and the undeniably cute churro waffles were too tough and hard to cut with a fork.

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An ambitious ceviche verde was undermined by fish turned mealy in its lime juice marinade, a small portion out of proportion to the hollowed-out jicama bulb that served as its bowl.

But overall, Panfila did a good job of fine-tuning my expectations for Mexican food. The enchiladas were smaller and fancier, with the option of filling them with chicken, mild Oaxacan cheese, or funky fresco queso. At three for an order, I tried all three toppings for the poblana enchiladas, each a perfect match for the creamy poblano sauce with corn for sweetness and texture. The enchiladas rojas were as close as Panfila to tex-mex cheese enchiladas, but without the shimmer and grease and with a queso fresco adding a salty, twangy counterpoint to the sweet guajillo sauce.

Appetizer options include steamed tacos called tacos de canasta, top, and ceviche verde with avocado served in cut up jicama root at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.

Appetizer options include steamed tacos called tacos de canasta, top, and ceviche verde with avocado served in cut up jicama root at Panfila Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Bulverde Road near TPC Parkway in San Antonio.

Mike Sutter/staff

And while you can get steamed steamed tacos in San Antonio, few places serve them a la canasta, in a basket half a dozen at a time with three different styles: mild beef picadillo, chicharrón prensado in green sauce and comforting potato and bean, served with a side of pickled cabbage for a taco feast on deck.

***

22250 Bulverde Road, Suite 114, 210-455-0702, panfilacantinaandrestaurant.com

Quick Bite: Chef-run Mexican restaurant and bar with brunch and dinner seven days a week

Hit: Enmolado chilaquiles, enchiladas poblanas, barbacoa cazuela

To lack: Green ceviche, hamburguesa

Hours: 10am-10pm daily; brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

Price scale: Appetizers, $5 to $12; soups and salads, $14 to $16; brunch entrees, $10 to $16; dinner entrees, $12 to $36; dessert, $8

Alcohol: Cocktails, beer and wine

***** Excellent, an almost perfect experience

**** Good, among the best in town

*** Average, with some notable points

** Poor, with a redemption factor or two

* Bad, nothing to recommend

Express-News food critics pay for all meals.


I’m not the only one seeing a pair of CIA grads running Panfila is a good sign for San Antonio’s saturated Mexican restaurant market.

In his book ‘Kitchen Confidential’, the late Anthony Bourdain wrote that if he needed anything – a quick loan, a shoulder to cry on, bail – he would first contact the soldiers on his kitchen team. . Hinojosa got a taste of that ironclad loyalty when his former boss Andrew Weissman came to the soft opening of Panfila and sowed the clouds of social media to make it rain for his former sous chef. on Twitter: “Super excited for the wonderful couple and owners of Panfila! Check this place out! Authentic/delicious Mexican food.

Understood.

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