I have to admit, there are very few restaurants in my regular rotation in The Woodlands. I try to eat local when I can, so that eliminates a good portion of the establishments in The Wood. One of the locally owned places I've been wanting to try is La Bikina, so when some friends and I were invited to a tasting there, I immediately accepted.
The decor there is stunningly beautiful but very comfortable at the same time. Some of the lyrics to the song La Bikina, the restaurant's namesake, are on the wall in block letters creating an eye-catching art piece.
I love the fact he has purse stands available so you don't have to hang your purse on your knee or put it on the floor. It's a nice touch.
And that's another thing I noticed about La Bikina--the small customer-focused touches such as tables with special cup holders so the entire surface can be used to enjoy a game of dominos to free cab rides home within The Woodlands if you indulge a little too much.
Okay, moving on to the food. We started off with chips and salsa along with some cocktails including a tamarind margarita (that's what I had and is pictured), mango margarita, and a Cosmo. I also had to try the tequila shot with the scorpion and worm salt. The scorpion had a slightly nutty flavor, but was a little crunchy for my taste. The tequila washed it down nicely though!
We were served the molcajete de queso shortly after I found a scorpion toe in my tooth (not really). Mozzarella cheese is breaded in chicharrones and placed in a molcajete containing tomatillo sauce. We sliced the cheese, stirred it, and spread it on corn tortillas. I added a little habanero sauce to up the heat a little. This stuff was delicious and is a really big portion for $12.50.
The star of the show for me was the snapper. I was somewhat intimidated by the photos I'd seen, but it's surprisingly easy to eat. The fish is scored so you can just pluck a cube of the flaky mild fish right which has been brushed with white whine and lemon right off its little body. It can easily feed two, so at $27, I think it's a good value.
We also sampled the pastor tacos, and while good, I think I prefer the pastor from the taco truck by my house. It's probably because it's what I'm used to.
For dessert we sampled the churros and a chocolate mousse served in a clay pot. I'm not a fan of fried dough, so they churros weren't my favorite, but they were loved by my dining companions. The churros come with 3 dipping sauces: chocolate, vanilla, and dulce de leche. The presentation is beautiful, with the churros standing over 12" high in a glass.
The mousse was absolutely delicious. It's wasn't overly sweet, and the crushed chocolate cookies added a nice textural element.
From reading some initial reviews, it seems La Bikina got off to a slightly rough start. I think they are beginning to hit their stride, and we were all impressed. I can't wait to go back for a happy hour (most items on that menu are $6) or for a night cap and a taco since he's open until 2 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.