Underbelly Hospitality’s Mexico City Inspired Concept Debuts This Week
We may be heading toward the end of 2023, but this year is still shaping up to be a busy one for Underbelly Hospitality. It was announced this Fall that Wild Oats, which serves up fresh takes on traditional Texas fare, was relocating to 1222 Witte Road, home to a new dining and entertainment development in Spring Branch. It was welcome news that the space at Houston Farmers Market at 2520 Airline would not stay empty long, and would become new concept Comalito, a taqueria inspired by the flavors of Mexico City. Comalito’s now ready and will make its debut on Friday, November 17.
Mexico City-based chef, Luis Robledo Richards, who was crowned Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef in 2019, is partnering on the restaurant. Through a press release, Richards reflected on what they hope to achieve, “Our vision for Comalito is to create a fun, affordable, and approachable concept where Houstonians can immerse themselves in the vibrant culinary landscape of a traditional Mexico City taqueria. We hope to become a go-to destination for those seeking simple, high-quality food and are excited to bring this unique dining experience alongside Underbelly Hospitality to The Houston Farmers Market, a place that has been a cornerstone of Houston’s culinary heritage.”
Comalito aims to bring an authentic culinary experience. During lunch and dinner, diners can expect tacos al pastor, tacos de parrilla (charbroiled tacos), tostadas, tacos de suadero (braised beef tacos), alambres (beef skewer cooked with bell peppers, onion and bacon, charbroiled and served in a tortilla as a taco), quesadillas, salads and soups. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available in the form of tacos de hongos al pastor (mushrooms as pastor), quesadillas de flor de calabaza (zucchini flower) and ensalada de nopales con quelites (cactus and purslane salad). Understanding the importance of a proper salsa, Comalito will offer six house versions of varying flavors and textures that will complement and enhance each taco offering – roja, verde, verde cremosa, morita (dried, smoked jalapeño), arbol and pico de gallo.
In the coming weeks, Comalito will also open for breakfast daily, when offerings will include breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, and housemade pastries. Coffee service will be provided by local roaster Katz Coffee and will feature a coffee blend from Chiapas.
Richards will bring his acclaimed pastry chef skills to the in-house tortilla program, which will highlight organic heirloom corn sourced from Central Mexico. The corn will be processed on-site using the traditional nixtamalization technique (the preparation of maize, or other grain, in which the grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution). Future plans for the space also include large-scale tortilla manufacturing.
Mexico City, arguably, has some of the best bars in the world, and in that vein, Comalito will offer a thoughtfully curated beverage program that will showcase tequila and mezcal cocktails, Mexican beers and spirits and refreshing aguas frescas. An agave bar will also be a prominent feature, which will evoke the spirit of mezacalerias throughout Mexico. Happy hour will be available at the bar and on the patio, with a view of the hustle and bustle of the Houston Farmers Market.
Comalito’s vision of bringing the rich and authentic cuisine of Mexico to diners, seems to be an ideal pairing with the Houston Farmers Market, which has been one of the oldest and main hubs of culture and community. Comalito will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with extended breakfast hours forthcoming.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stops exploring all that Houston has to offer.