Tu Asador in Castle Hills does great steaks, not much else

Family-run Mexican-style steakhouse Tu Asador in Castle Hills rose from the ashes of a pandemic that scorched the restaurant jobs of chef José González and his sisters Regina, Valentina and Emilia.

As they searched for ways to rebuild their careers in hospitality, they refocused their energies on recreating the beef culture they grew up with in Monterrey, Mexico. So they started Tu Asador as a home delivery ghost kitchen, then moved into Spoon Eatery’s former home a year ago.

Tu Asador is one of those uplifting priming tales that goes from the family-style carne asada feasts of the González family to a full steakhouse experience in Castle Hills. And when Tu Asador channels that passion for backyard barbecue, it’s on fire, with steaks that bear the scratches and seasoning of a lifetime spent behind the grill.

Served with grilled onions and roasted garlic on a butcher’s board bearing the restaurant’s logo, Tu Asador’s 12-ounce steak gave a seared and choppy glimpse of a family with beef culture running through its veins. like the juices tracing across the board. The salt and pepper found their savory balance on a clean, tightly cut steak, leaving just enough fat to impart a caramelized character around the edges.

Grilled, sliced ​​meat served family-style with grilled onions is called the experience at Tu Asador, a Mexican-style steakhouse in Castle Hills. From left to right, the strip of rib eye, sirloin and skirt steak.

Mike Sutter / Staff

A family-style steak board called the experiment started by picking sirloin, rib eye, or skirt steak snatch by weight, and my custom experiment involved half a pound of each. Built on the idea of ​​a shared plate in the center of the table, the steak was sliced ​​into three neat piles flanked by grilled onions and tortilla wraps.

Even sliced, the cuts needed no explanation.

The sirloin melted perfectly on itself with every bite. Sirloin has proven once again why it is the king of lean, nasty flavors, the master of the in-and-out of all that charcoal has to offer. And the snatch reaffirmed that while his highest and highest goal is always the hard sizzle of a fajita, wearing a boutique steakhouse blush is also very good.

If I stopped there, doing nothing but staring at those lovely steaks on their cutting boards, that would be a different review. But restaurants don’t work that way. These are full-contact experiences where the mood matters, the details matter, and the rest of the menu matters. And that’s where Tu Asador walked away from himself.

Tu Asador is a Mexican-style steakhouse that opened in May 2021 in Castle Hills.

Tu Asador is a Mexican-style steakhouse that opened in May 2021 in Castle Hills.

Mike Sutter / Staff

The space itself changed from a West Elm showroom when it came to Spoon to a stripped-down bar and grill with TVs on the walls, concrete floors and wooden tables with the bubbling finish as if left out in the rain. The handful of drinks I ordered from a cocktail menu with over 50 options tasted like bar syrup and bad mixes, especially an old-fashioned mezcal with an aftertaste of ashtrays and soda in the dietary ginger. The 32-ounce “litros” cocktails come in clear plastic cups that might as well say Big Gulp.

And sometimes a family-style restaurant means letting guests get too comfortable, comfortable enough to bring their pedigree dog inside to lay at their feet while they eat. All of that is fine for a bar and grill, but when I’m paying north of $50 for a la carte steak, I want more beauty and less beast.

Building a full meal beyond the steaks at Tu Asador was a challenge. A $25 appetizer of rib-eye chicharrón brought grilled and fried bites of rib-eye that chewed like gnarled bubblegum. A Mexican-style hamburguesa topped with beef, ham and grilled cheese couldn’t get any flavor out of it. And the bar-food majesty of grilled panela asado was presented instead as a thick block of cheese with grilled color but no heat in a pool of weak tomato salsa.

Grilled beef bones split with bone marrow called tuetanos are served with tortillas and chili torreados at Tu Asador, a Mexican-style steakhouse in Castle Hills.

Grilled beef bones split with bone marrow called tuetanos are served with tortillas and chili torreados at Tu Asador, a Mexican-style steakhouse in Castle Hills.

Mike Sutter / Staff

More ambitious efforts have also failed. The ceviche de res with sirloin “cooked” in lime juice tasted less like ceviche or tartare and more like a cold, tough steak. And the primal bone marrow indulgence became a study in dark and light when the split marrow bones appeared in two different tones, one pale and waxy, the other dark and ashen, neither having exactly the right taste. A leaden, starchy trough of baked potatoes loaded with carne asada proved more of a liability than a benefit.

A few related things. Tu Asador makes beautiful North Mexican-style flour tortillas that are as strong and bold as ancient manuscripts on the art of tortilla-making. A plate of perfectly grilled and sliced ​​Wagyu smoked sausage and onions turned the steak experience into a complete barbecue. And from Tu Asador’s more casual weekday lunch menu, tacos dorados de chicharrón capitalized on the meatier experience of chicharrones prensados.

Flaws and triumphs are all part of Tu Asador’s story. And I love a good restaurant story.

But loving the story doesn’t always mean loving how it intersects with my own story when I sit down. At Tu Asador, the story needs a good editor.

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You Asador


8055 West Ave., Suite 125, 210-530-4595, tuasadorsatx.com

Quick Bite: Mexican-style steakhouse and bar in Castle Hills

Hit: Grilled steaks, tacos dorados de chicharrón, grilled sausage

To lack: Hamburguesa, ceviche de res, cocktails

Hours: 11am-9pm Tuesday to Wednesday; 11am-10pm Thursday; 11am-11pm from Friday to Saturday; 11am-9pm Sunday

Price scale: Appetizers, $8 to $25; soups and salads, $6-$15; steaks, $28 to $52 and up; entrees, $15 to $42; dessert, $6-$14; lunch entrees, $8 to $15

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.

Dino S. Williams