To add some confusion, the following review is written about Mi Cocina, a restaurant in Bryan and College Station. Very recently the restaurant, Mi Cocina, had to change their name because a huge restaurant conglomerate in Dallas registered their trademark/copyright under the same name. The new name for the B/CS restaurants is Polly's Cocina. The owners and food are still the same.
Small, family-owned restaurants that make exceptional food, no matter what the genre, are prized possessions for any town. Our little hamlet of Bryan/College Station just so happens to have several that have become institutions on Mexican and Tex-Mex food. That is definitely NOT a complaint. My personal favorite of these is Mi Cocina. With four locations around town, Mi Cocina sounds like it should be a massive McDonald's style chain. However they are all owned and operated by the same family and on any given day you might find the owners waiting tables or delivering catering supplies to their customers.
The corn chips at Mi Cocina are the very, very thin variety found throughout Texas. They are s thin they break apart in your hands, but this enough to stand up to the wonderfully flavorful salsa they are served with. When visiting other parts of the country it seems weird to have thick chips. The guacamole at Mi Cocina is also a thing of beauty. Thick chunks of avocado, with integrated lemon and spices.
The menu features your typical fare for this part of the country. However my favorite is the barbacoa tacos. Barbacoa is the meat from the head of a cow that has been slowly roasted with spices until the point that it literally falls off the bone. The flavor is undeniably savory and the texture of the meat just melts in your mouth. This is served on hand-made flour tortillas imprinted with the TAMU logo, that sometimes arrive still warm.
If you order a meal it comes with homemade refried beans that taste far better than anything I've ever had up North. The Lovely Spouse typically orders Steak ala Mexicana. It's a small, flat steak cooked to order served with a vegetable gravy, rice and beans, as well as a small salad. It meets his very stringent requirements for steak and he eats it often. Therefore I assume he enjoys it. :-) However whenever I have a craving for Mexican, it's always for the barbacoa. MmmmmMMMMMmmmm...
The decor is nothing special. Two of the restaurants are located in gas stations. One is next to a Subway sandwich shop and the other is a small converted house. The napkins are paper, the flatware and plates are typical of what you might find in a cafeteria and the drink menu is limited to a few beers, margaritas and fountain drinks. There's no pretention here and you often see people arrive after work in overalls, work suits and a variety of casual wear.
And before I sign off, I would be an absolute cad if I didn't mention that they are also well-known for their Tex-Mex style breakfast menu which features migas and breakfast tacos (I don't typically eat out for breakfast so I can't give any personal opinion on this). They also are one of the few restaurants in the area to serve menudo and caldo, but only on weekends. So...if you've got a hangover you now know where to eat on weekends.
Would I eat there again? Sure! The Lovely Spouse and I eat there about once a week.
Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. If you want descent Mexican food without any pretention at a very good price, you've come to the right place.