Frontera Bar + Grill
New levels of Heat from the border of Mexico
“These are the best damn margherita’s you’ll ever taste,” states Larry H. Martin in his thick American drawl. Owner of the infamous Frontera Bar + Grill and a larger than life Texan, Larry is a man I was in no hurry to displease. I eagerly take a sip, prepared to lie if I had to. Sip…
Wow. I needn’t have worried. Larry was right. This was the best margherita I had ever tasted. Made with Sauza tequila (100% agave tequila), and freshly squeezed limes (they go through 40 – 50 kgs a week), sweetened with the finest agave nectar imported directly from Mexico and served in a chilled glass laced with rock salt coloured blue, it was an intensely smooth and satisfying sip.
16 years after ‘accidentally’ landing himself in Malaysia, Larry wouldn’t dream of returning to Texas and instead brings fragments of his home here. Only the best parts, he tells me.
I’d heard a lot about Frontera’s new menu that would feature new levels of heat in some of their signature dishes: Hot, Super Hot and Volcano Hot. What the hell, I thought to myself. I might as well start off with a bang, and go straight for the hotter version of their Habanero Hot Wings; bring on the Chili Buffalo Wings!
A basket of wings and drummets are placed in front of me. The chicken is fried first then coated in a butter, vinegar and cayenne pepper sticky sauce. I gingerly lift a wing and dunk it in a creamy cilantro ranch dressing. I was impressed. Volcano hot lava erupted on my tongue, spurting fire into every corner of my mouth. After a few seconds, the heat intensified but thankfully was dulled a little by the dressing. I rinse my mouth out with warm water, a trick I’d learnt on a chili eating spree in Brazil.
TIP: Ice cold water only spreads the capsaicin (the substance that gives it its heat) around, and warm water dilutes it.
After such intense heat, I welcomed the hearty portion of Taquitos de Pollo that was up next. This dish is made with shredded chicken, hand-wrapped in corn tortillas then flash fried and served with a tangy salsa verde and sour cream. A must try is also the Frontera Nachos.
Freshly made tortilla chips covered with refried beans, topped with cheese and sliced jalapenos. I relished in the cooling effect the sides of sour cream and pico de gallo had on my battered tongue.
A few minutes later, Terry (Red FM Drive) and I were almost back to our normal colour. Larry brings out a plate of chilis. Big, small, red, green, fresh and dried. “Can you handle the heat?” He asks us. We look at each other. Bring it on!
False bravado on my part and I chickened out and opted for the milder Green Jalapeno while Terry braved the Habanero chili, little, but lethal. If you’re a chili addict, you have to have this. If you want to taste your food after, I recommend giving it a miss.
I’m glad I saved my tastebuds because up next was the highlight of the evening. I make my own burgers so I know it’s not easy to get the formula right. The famous Frontera Burger has had a facelift, and now comes with a smothering of homemade chili. Larry flies in authentic Mexican Oregano to make Frontera’s Chili Con Carne as authentic as it gets.
On top of a warm, crusty bun sits a thick 1/3lb patty made from prime beef mince, oozing juice that slowly soaks into the bread. Mesquite-grilled for extra flavour, topped off with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, dill, pickle and onion, it is a challenge to eat. Larry tells me to put the top of the bun on, place my palm on it and press down. After this act of squashing, the mighty Frontera Chili Burger is manageable enough to pick up without significant spillage. Now the next problem: I have it in my hands, but how do I fit it in my mouth?
It wasn’t easy. With every movement, or the slightest change in pressure, the burger, chili and condiments threatened to slip and slide out of control. Exercising serious skill and maneuvering, I opened as wide as I could, nearly unhinging my jaw, and took a bite. It was, oh, so worth it! I was hooked. Deliciously succulent with meaty juices erupting in my mouth as I greedily bit out bigger and bigger chunks.
An alternative to the beef burger would be Frontera’s Chicken Ranch Sandwich. Similar in size and perfect for a hot summer afternoon, this sandwich boasts a tender, whole chicken breast that is smothered in a homemade honey mustard dressing. If that’s not enough to curb your cravings, you can ‘Build a Better Burger’ and choose from an assortment of toppings to tailor make for maximum satisfaction.
Don’t miss out on Frontera’s Famous BBQ Beef Ribs.
Slow roasted Mesquite-smoked beef basted with homemade Habanero Sauce, with robust richness in every bite. I had trouble prying the ribs away from Terry and settled for the delicious sides of mash potato, sautéed vegetables and jalapeno coleslaw. Of course, no Tex-Mex meal would be complete without an Enchilada. You can choose from Classic Cheese, Beef, Chicken or what we had, the Enchiladas Nortena. Tejas style enchiladas topped with Chili Con Carne and queso Cheese.
I am reaching my chili limit as I pick on the Frontera Chimichanga. A home made flour tortilla filled with beef or chicken, refried beans and cheese, then deep fried for extra crispiness and served with a dollop of chili con queso and diced tomatoes. All Enchilada’s, Tacos and Burrittos are served with Mexican rice and Refried Beans. Finish off with a dessert of Key Lime pie and a shot of Sauza Tequila.
The best margherita’s, the best burgers and the best Chili this side of Texas. As it says on the menu, “This is the Ultimate Tex-Mex Experience!”
Look out for Frontera’s new breakfast menu, coming soon…
Tune in all this week to win RM 100 Vouchers to Frontera Bar + Grill, Jaya One.
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Frontera Bar & Grill
Palm Square at Jaya One
Corner of Jalan Universiti and Jalan 13/6,
Phone 603 7958 8515.
Fax 603 7958 8125