…Soto’s may have my favorite fajitas in town right now. They’re so good that I never bother to roll these charcoaly skirt strips up with anything other than a few of the caramelized onions and ripe jalapeño chile slivers that lurk at the bottom of their cast-iron skillet.

No salsa. No pico de gallo. No guacamole. No sour cream. No side-order drizzle of chile con queso. I want nothing to come between me and the primal pleasure of Soto’s beef wrapped in a thin handmade tortilla, its texture tight and slightly elastic. The sliced skirt steak itself is beautifully handled: expansively beefy, tart with lime and aggressively smoke-surfaced, with none of the sugary or insistent soy tones that afflict so many versions.

Yes, these fajitas arrive sizzling, a bit of nonsensical crowd-pleasing theater I deplore, but the beef has been carefully grilled every single time I’ve tasted it. It doesn’t continue to cook to death in its small deep-sided, cast-iron pan. And these fajitas are beautiful: garnished with a grilled red-ripe tomato half that would inspire envy in a Persian chef, along with a vivid scarlet ripe-jalapeño toreado, split lengthwise down the middle so that the capsaicin-laden seeds show.

The whole thing looks like a jewel box. Which in fact it is.

These letter-perfect fajitas are what makes the 30-mile drive from my near-downtown doorstep to Willowbrook/Cy-Fair seem not only doable but desirable.

Alison Cook

Houston Chronicle