Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Casa Jurado West

4772 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 833-1151

For years Casa Jurado West operated as an extension of the original Casa Jurado restaurant in Kern Place, with two brothers using the family recipes to provide the same great food to different parts of El Paso's west side. Now that the original location is no longer in the family's ownership, the Doniphan location has become the sole source of the "authentic" Casa Jurado recipes. I think the new owner of the Kern Place restaurant has kept the food fairly true to the quality and style that the founder used to serve, but that is a matter of great debate if you ask anyone who works at Casa Jurado West. To me the issue is not whether both restaurants are staying true to the original Jurado family recipes, but whether the food is good at either restaurant. I think the food is quite good at both.

Enchiladas nortenas
Enchiladas norteñas with red chile and optional charro beans

Casa Jurado is an El Paso institution, and if you ask almost anybody in town, they will likely have a favorite dish. Mine has usually been the flat enchiladas, or Enchiladas Norteñas. They are the deep red New Mexico style enchiladas, but with an El Paso flavor of a blend of spices that usually has more garlic than the New Mexico versions, is usually milder, and varies slightly on a day to day basis depending on the proportions of ingredients the cook throws into the mix. I probably do not like this red chile quite as much as ones I have eaten in some New Mexico restaurants, but I think it is a worthy example when trying different El Paso restaurants. The cheese used at Casa Jurado West is particularly flavorful and good quality, making these enchiladas more enjoyable than the ones at many other El Paso restaurants, even if they are able to produce the same deep red chile. As more and more restaurants specialize in the meat-dominated styles of central Mexico, I find myself returning to the few places that have very good border style enchiladas, of which both Casa J. restaurants are representative.

Most enchilada plates at Casa Jurado are served rolled, as the flat ones never caught on in El Paso as they have in New Mexico. Either way they are good, but the flat ones always seem to have more chile. As with the red ones, Casa J. serves Green Enchiladas either flat (norteña style) or rolled. I tried the green chile years ago and was not as impressed with it as with the red enchiladas, but I have to admit that I do not remember the specifics of it.

The Spinach Enchiladas are the other style that I like a lot, but these are simply red enchiladas with a different filling. I think these need to be prepared rolled instead of flat, but of course the chile and cheese are the same.

Although the Tortilla Soup was good, it was nothing really special. Some of the other items I would like to try (but have not yet done so at the Doniphan location) are the ones that used to be very good at the original Casa J., including salpicón, and flan.

Flautas with chile on queso
Flautas with chile on queso

Some of the best Chicken Flautas I have had in El Paso were at the Casa Jurado on Cincinnati after it changed owners. They were served with outstanding chile con queso and everything about them was memorable. The reason I mention this is that Casa Jurado West uses the same queso and the same recipe for the flautas. When I ordered the ones here they were also outstanding, and I could not believe I had been missing such a great dish all these years. However, while the new owner of the Kern Place (Cincinnati Ave.) Casa J. restaurant serves both guacamole and queso, the Doniphan location makes customers choose between the two. I thought the queso was some of the best in El Paso, but I prefer the Cincinnati location where it is served along with guacamole. I just do not understand the idea at Casa Jurado West of serving queso along with sour cream.

Chicken and mole
Chicken and mole

Chicken Mole (technically, chicken breast meat with mole sauce) was one of my favorite dishes at the "old" Casa Jurado before it changed owners. I do not know what took me so long to try it at the Doniphan restaurant, but I think it is just as good here. This is a flavorful but not too spicy mole with a more complex flavor than just the chocolate for which mole is known. Only a few restaurants in the city have really good border style mole, and I think Casa Jurado West may be the best of the best (with the possible exception of Casa Jurado in Kern Place).

Milanesa steak topped with chile con queso
Milanesa steak topped with chile con queso

Another good way to enjoy Casa Jurado's chile con queso is to have it as a topping on the Milanesa steak, a breaded cutlet. This is actually a similar dish to the chile con queso steak found at several other restaurants, except that many of the others use hamburger steak. The beef at Casa Jurado may not be U.S. Prime, but I thought it was a lot better than hamburger. I really think the queso here is so good that I have to recommend the dishes that serve the largest quantity of it. The milanesa has practically a whole plate of it. The fries were very good as well.

Chips and salsa
Chips and salsa

The Chips are consistently excellent with thick chips and a rich flavor. It is hard to keep from filling up before the meal even begins.

The Salsa is very good, but sometimes seems to have way too much garlic. I am glad that the salsa and sauces that go on the food are made fresh, but the down side is that they do not always taste the same. When the chefs put smaller proportions of garlic into the salsa, though, it is excellent.

The Rice is excellent at Casa Jurado West, and is particularly noteworthy for a rich flavor.

I used to enjoy whole pinto beans that were served at the Kern Place location on request. These were New Mexico style beans that went well with the red enchiladas and were a good neutralizer to the spicy chile. The Charro Beans served at Casa Jurado West, though, did not seem to go very well with the flavors of the enchilada plate. I think the charros might be all right with tacos or some other dish, but I was not able to have my full "Casa Jurado experience" at the Doniphan location without the whole pinto beans (or refried beans).

When both Casa Jurado restaurants were operated by different family members, I felt that the two kitchens produced different interpretations of the family recipes. The original restaurant on Cincinnati seemed to be more consistent, and the food was always the same any time I went. Casa Jurado West had more variation in the color of the red chile, and sometimes the enchiladas and salsa had too much garlic. I also felt, though, that it was operating from a different baseline, with its own touch on the spices and flavors. I still feel that Casa Jurado West is somewhat variable, but I do know that it stays as true as it can to the original Jurado family recipes. I like the Kern Place Casa Jurado just as well (and better for some things), but the Doniphan restaurant is where you always know you are getting the "real deal."

Casa Jurado West has a bar, with Mexican beer being one of the most popular items I have spotted at various tables. Be aware, though, that the big screen TV from the bar can be heard throughout the restaurant, although not at a loud enough volume that it would interfere with any conversations.

I cannot speak for the "other" Casa Jurado, but experience has shown me that the Doniphan restaurant keeps the prices below average and makes only minimal increases. Of course one of its best features is that it has a parking lot (this can be a big issue if you ever try to go to the Kern Place location). I am glad we have a choice of the two restaurants.

RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 23

Cuisine: Mexican El Paso
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Cooking Oil: Vegetable
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Drinks

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
Feb. 3, 2010

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Chicken Mole, Enchiladas Norteñas, Spinach Enchiladas, Chile con Queso

Special Ratings
Enchiladas Norteñas:
Spinach Enchiladas:
Flautas:
Milanesa:
Chicken Mole:
Tortilla Soup:
Rice:
Beans:
Chips:
Salsa:



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