For more than 30 years (a lifetime is Houston’s constantly revolving food scene) Pico’s has been serving up authentic Mexican food to the appreciative masses.
Tex-Mex is what you have come to expect in Texas; plates of yellow cheese, margaritas, and sizzling fajitas all have their place and tradition in our collective food culture. Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, however, boasts not only an amazing selection of Tex-Mex, but also authentic Mexican food from the seven regions of Mexico. Connoisseurs of authentic Mexican mole flock to the restaurant especially during the holiday season for the famous Twelve Days of Mole. You’ll want to mark your calendars an entire year in advance for next December, so you won’t miss out on this yearly spectacular event.
Monica Richards de Osberg, oldest daughter of Richards, and Beverage Director for the restaurant, spent her childhood growing up with Picos.
“My dad’s right hand in the kitchen is Delia, who has been making his mole dreams come true since I was a kid. She really allows his visions to become a reality,” says de Osberg. “We have guests who have been coming here for years just for the mole. It takes between 12-18 hours per dish – it is very labor intensive to make each sauce and cook each type of meat.”
If you can’t get the full 12 days of mole experience, don’t worry! Mole is definitely an option every day at Picos. According to de Osberg, the two most popular mole dishes are the Pollo en Mole Negro Oaxaqueño and the Pollo en Mole Rojo Poblano. There are four different kinds of rice and side dishes, depending on which type of mole you order. My favorite was the Pollo en Mole Negro Oaxaquño served with black beans and black rice. Every bite of earthy rich mole and tender chicken was delectable.
In additional to their authentic cuisine, Picos in known for a robust menu of margaritas. There’s a margarita for any mood you happen to be in. The Exclusive Barrel Collection of Margaritas menu has eight of the best (and highly potent) margaritas you’ll find in Houston. The Noir and El Diamante are personal favorites, but any of the margaritas are excellent. If you are feeling like a little extra, order a shot of tequila from one of the oldest barrels of tequila in Houston. You won’t want to down this with salt and lime however. Sip and savor this treat over a long meal.
“We’ve worked with master distillers for so long, they know our flavor pallet and choose the best barrels for us. Even the bottles are special – they are sculpted by the famous artist Sergio Bustamante,” says de Osberg.
From beginning to end, the Picos experience is one to enjoy. Beautiful décor, excellent food and enough room for large or small parties – everyone will find something they love about the restaurant.
“We had such humble beginnings, but my parents have always been extremely innovative. They spent 11 months renovating this restaurant. My mom turned it into something with elegance and comfort which is a hard combination to get right,” says de Osberg. “A lot of our servers have been with us for over 10 years and some of the kitchen staff have been with us for over 18 years. We are a family here at Picos.”
Cover: Arnaldo Richards has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine in Houston for over 30 years. Courtesy photo
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. You can usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family. Visit her on Instagram @gabioftheroses_htx