SAN ANTONIO — A job is a good thing to have. Jose Torres thought it would be better to become his own boss, so he started Pollos Asados Don Jose.
“His dream was to be independent, so he started with a food truck,” Raulito Navaira said. Navaira, a Tejano music and south side notable, is fan of the restaurant and friend to Torres. “I’ve had Pollos Asados before, but never like this,” Navaira said.
According to his friend, the 56-year-old stuck to a strict financial plan to launch his business. Three years and two food trucks later, Torres moved into 523 Moursund Blvd.
Torres worked at the Port of Houston before moving to San Antonio 10 years ago. He started working for another restaurant popular for the Mexican grilled chicken. Torres said he was a well-known cook at the eatery.
He said it made sense to name his restaurant Pollos Asados Don Jose because of his name. Customers can’t eat his name. They can chow down on his chicken, which is cooked Al Carbon or over charcoal.
Torres won’t give away his secret recipe, but he marinades the chicken 30 minutes before going on the grill. The much-loved chicken from Mexico looks sunburned when it goes on the grill, where workers flip the poultry over flames until it is done.
“Like here, we have fried chicken,” Navaira said. “Over there, we have asados.”
Torres also offers a dish not very likely to be found on the menus of Mexican restaurants in San Antonio: Discada. It’s a meat platter with cheese eaten with tortillas and sauce. He said in Mexico, the meat platter is prepared and cooked on a disc.
Neighborhood Eats wanted was provided with a taste test starting with two fat burgers.
The Regia burger is a ½ pound of beef with the traditional trimmings, guacamole, chipotle sauce, ham and sausage. It was delicious!
The fajita burger was a pleasant surprise with tasty strips of beef, guacamole, chipotle sauce pico de gallo and cheese.
Next on the sampler was the La papa Asada. The dish looks nacho based but its foundation is all about the potato. Customers can order this huge offering with any meat topping, sour cream, butter and onions. ¡Qué Rico!
The charro beans are, certainly, a comfort food with bits of chicharonnes and bacon.
Torrres has a family sized parrilladas, or as they called it, the parradilla Don Jose: A whole chicken, a pound of fajitas, rice, charro beans, a dozen tortillas, sausage, grilled onions, lime, a banana pepper and bacon. ¡Qué Rico!
Overall: Pollos Asados Don Jose is a comfortable, clean and inviting restaurant with good food. Will he always be in a comparison or contest with other well-known asados restaurant? Yes. But that’s just business. Come hungry, because the portions are hefty. Outside, the building looks like Mexico, inside it feels like Texas and the food hits the spot.