At a typical Mexican restaurant, diners may reasonably expect their plate of enchiladas to come with a side of rice and beans and perhaps a “salad”—which is, of course, to say, a smattering of iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato and a dollop of sour cream. Bravo! House of Enchiladas is anything but typical.

At this Tully Road eatery, customers will receive a pile of darkly charred summer squash or an entire “fried to order” extra crispy chicken leg depending on their order.

Bravo! also serves rice and beans—and they excel at the task. Each grain of ultra-puffy rice stands out, competing in a texture contest with the creamy, aggressively seasoned beans. A sign on the wall proclaims everything is cooked from scratch with heart. It shows.

The taco menu at Bravo! features all the usual suspects, including an excellent and very crispy fish taco. Dig deeper to discover one of their house specialties—tacos pastorino ($3.99). Served on warm corn tortillas, they are overflowing with avocados, onions, cheese and a truly lethal amount of bacon and pork al pastor. Two of these babies were enough to inspire a three-hour nap after lunch.

The tostadas are offered only in one variety, chicken tinga. But considering how good this tinga is, there is simply no need for Bravo! to offer up any other options. Chicken tinga is at its root a stew of chicken legs seasoned with smoky chipotle chiles. Braised slowly in homemade chicken stock and the chiles, the meat is very tender, with a succulent texture usually only found in duck confit. The strong smoke of the chile is held in place by the rich stock, which serves as the base for most of their sauces.

There are only five tables inside Bravo! and on the day I went, it felt crowded with just a few patrons eating. But this is not just because of the limited square footage of the dining room; it is also due to the number of steaming platters and massive micheladas that most customers ordered. The dishes and spicy tomato beer concoctions crowded every occupied table.

Taking the hint, I ordered my own michelada with Negra Modelo and aguachile ($13). At 32 ounces, the drink would be gigantic without the addition of garnishes. I added spicy pickled shrimp (six pieces, very juicy), wedges of tomato and cucumber slices to mine—though customers may choose fish ceviche or grilled shrimp instead. This was easily the best michelada I have ever had and is a must for anyone dining here. A delicate balance of spicy, sour and savory, the drink is incredibly refreshing and acts as a palate cleanser between bites.

I haven’t even mentioned the enchiladas, which range from the simple, like beef or chicken topped with red, green and mole sauce (three for $10.99), to the more complex varieties like Califas ($10.99), a decadent take on surf and turf featuring a hefty serving of steak and shrimp. The mole is epic: Close your eyes and you can almost taste each of the 20-plus ingredients dancing on your tongue.

The enchiladas Michoacanas ($11.99) were my favorite—cheesy tortillas covered in the red sauce, with a flavor so deep and savory it makes you question every enchilada you have ever tried before. Garnished with fried chicken and potatoes, there was enough food for at least two meals. The chicken was moist, well seasoned and very crunchy, but it was the potatoes that grabbed my attention. Sliced lengthwise and fried twice, the outer shell was very crispy with a soft mashed potato interior.

Food this good does come at a cost, even if that cost doesn’t end up on your check. In the case of Bravo! it is ticket times. Few dishes leave the kitchen quickly, but that’s just fine with me. After all, that’s what the micheladas are for.

Bravo! House of Enchiladas
1075 Tully Rd H, San Jose