Fulton Street in the Northside neighborhood runs along the METRORail Red Line and has become a hub for quirky bars and cafes.

Monkey’s Tail may just be the best of the bunch. It has a laid-back feel, with warm, wooden accents and modern touches like a red neon sign with the Spanish words “buena vibra,” or “good vibes,” in a sleek cursive font.

I was disheartened by the news the bartender delivered that the “dollar dog” special listed on the restaurant’s website was only a temporary promotion coinciding with Houston Astros' playoff games.

But I quickly warmed up to the rest of the menu, including a 3-ounce chango burger ($5) that was as delicious as it was simple.

This “smashburger” patty was served with American cheese, grilled onions, relish and valentina mayonnaise (mayo blended with hot sauce) on a soft sesame seed bun. I added mushrooms for 50 cents extra.

Alongside this, I ordered a Tommy’s Margarita ($6 during happy hour, $9 otherwise) and had my glass speckled with tajin. It’s as pure as it gets: Hornitos Blanco tequila, lime and agave nectar. While I’m not the world’s biggest tequila fan, I found this refreshing drink to be the best possible flavor profile to match the spicy burger and the biggest treat of the evening: the nachos ($7). I paid $2 extra to top them with barbacoa (a blend of lamb, beef and goat), and the price is the same for chicken, beef or al pastor (pork).

I was immediately whisked away to the time my dad made nachos from scratch at home with fresh cheese, refried beans and avocados that redefined what my expectations were for this humble snack. This was the first time I ever had great nachos, and it was following a terribly disappointing experience in my youth that you’ve likely also had if you’ve ever ordered the scratchy, salty cardboard that passes for tortilla chips and the melted plastic they pour atop them at concession stands at public pools or Little League baseball games.

The nachos from Monkey’s Tail have only the essentials: melted cheese and fresh diced tomatoes and jalapeños. The delectable, tender and smoky barbacoa provided the proverbial chef’s kiss that completed this outstanding meal.

It’s rare to find quality comfort food in such a welcoming setting at an almost ridiculously low price, and that is something worth celebrating, even on an otherwise mundane Tuesday afternoon.

Monkey’s Tail

Address: 5802 Fulton St.

Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout

Hours: 4 p.m.-1:15 a.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1:15 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

Entree prices: $3-$19

Kid-friendly: No

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: None

Star of the show: Barbacoa nachos

Rating: 5 out of 5 bites

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.