Former Gloria’s employee Fernando Santos teamed up with his mother-in-law, Blanca Huesca, to open Nando’s in the southwest quadrant of Preston Royal Shopping Center. Santo runs the front of the house and the bar that turns out sophisticated margaritas, while his mother-in-law mans the kitchen. Huesca’s specialty is the food of Veracruz, and her offerings include safe, middle-of-the-road ingredients and Tex-Mex dishes that will certainly appeal to the gringo neighborhood. The consistency of the food, however, varies wildly. At lunch, a side of guacamole was overly populated with pieces of cucumber. When reordered at dinner, the nutty taste of avocado was more prevalent. Our server was inexperienced and couldn’t answer basic questions about the menu, but another would swoop over to the table to add his recommendations. Neither one of them could have saved the six medium-size shrimp submerged in a sea of garlicky butter. Instead of pliant, the texture of the shrimp resembled vulcanized rubber. On the bright side, the six tamales filled with shrimp, squash, tomatoes, onion, and garlic were swaddled in a banana leaf and steamed until moist. Perhaps if the kitchen pares down the number of items on its ambitious menu and concentrates on what it does best, this place will succeed. Somebody in the bar knows how to make margaritas and mojitos. Upgrade the house margarita by choosing Centenario Anejo. Every neighborhood could use a resource such as this.

For more information about Nando's Authentic Mexican Cuisine, visit our restaurant guide.

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