We live in the RGV and eat at Pepe's all the time. The Valley is not the place to come for fine dining. The most worrisome issue is the incidence of food poisoning and lack of general cleanliness of the great majority of food establishments. They even have a local TV station that has a weekly "Dirty Dining, What's Not on the Menu" segment and give out stickers to places that do not have any issues when they are inspected.
Pepe's fulfills the best in our opinion of Mexican restaurants in the RGV, where you can find Mexican restaurants on almost every corner.
Pepe's is a local eatery. It is not fancy. There is no blaring mariachi music. When we have out of town guests and they want something different then the usual Tacos and Enchilada's this is where we go. Tuesday night is a buffet, and it is very crowded. The waiters have been there for years and are very good. I read the few negative reports and don't understand. We have always felt the service was excellent and attentive.
What to eat: Fajitas (included in the Joe's Especial, what my Husband usually orders), Bistec Ranchero (beef with fresh chopped chilies, tomatoes, onions and cilantro- my personal favorite), Carne Gusada (chunks of beef in a spicy brown sauce- my husbands other personal favorite), Chicken Mole. Soups: both the Caldo des Res (beef and vegetable), and the Menudo are good. The refried beans and the charo beans are made fresh daily. The chips are hand made and served as fast as you eat them. The salsa is hand made but only mediocre. None of the food is overly spicy or hot.
Note on fajitas. These are Traditional, not sirloin steak fajitas, so they are served as one very thin piece of skirt steak which you cut up on your own. They are not tender or thick like sirloin that you find in places like Chili's.
What to skip: Taco's. The shells are premade like you get at a fast food joint, as are the corn tortillas used in the chalupas (called tostadas in some parts of the country). They also use ground beef in both which I don't like. I also skip the cheese enchiladas, though the chicken mole enchiladas are good.
I think if a person goes to Pepe's and orders what I suggested they will enjoy it and have a good meal.
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