Hector’s Baja Style Mexican Cusine

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After spending a significant part of my life down in Texas and Oklahoma, I have long loved good Mexican and Tex-Mex food, and was spoiled by having access to lots of excellent small authentic Mexican restaurants. When Mrs. Nom and I first moved to Omaha in early 2003, one of the first things we went looking for was a great Mexican place to feed our cravings.  I had friends who were huge fans of Romeo’s and Senior Matias, which after a few trips to these restaurants left me sorely disappointed, as the fare tended to consist of a fried shell stuff with mildly seasoned ground beef swimming in some watery red tomato sauce. In 2003, Mrs. Nom and I ran across Hector’s brand new West Omaha location, which being in our neck of the woods piqued our interest. We found a nice new place serving bold flavors made with fresh ingredients and a whole lot closer to the authentic styles we had been craving.  We have been regulars at Hector’s ever since.

To celebrate the return of the weekend we decided to meet my parents and head out to to Hector’s.  Sitting a table of 6 can be a challenge on a Friday night in Omaha, especially a popular place like Hector’s, so we went in expecting a wait and found a wait of approximately 30 minutes. The waiting area at Hector’s is very small, but they do have a nice large bar area that has space to wait. We managed to find a spot in the bar and were quickly helped by one of the four bartenders. Drink service was fast and accurate, with the ladies’ margaritas and my Dos Equis Amber and a Dewar’s all arriving as quickly. They only have Miller Lite, Dos Equis Lager and Dos Equis Amber on tap, but do offer a large array of bottled beer options.  The house margaritas that the ladies ordered were ok, but Mrs. Nom felt it needed a bit more sour mix, as it wasn’t quite sweet enough.  Our table opened up right about the time the hostess had estimated, and we were shown to our table

We started dinner out with an order of order of Chile con Queso Dip to go along with the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa. The queso was deliciously cheesey and creamy, spicy and slightly smokey, with just enough burn to balance out the richness of the cheese. The house made chips are served warm, crisp and salty, but not greasy or oily. The complimentary salsa is made fresh, tomato and jalapeno based, spicy with a bit of a sweet finish. Over our various visits the salsa was consistently good, but the amount of heat can vary depending on the night. Hector’s also features a salsa bar with a number of different varieties, of which we selected a spicy guacamole and a dish of pineapple salsa.  The spicy guacamole was thin and very very spicy, with a hint of tomatillo and habenero.   The pineapple salsa was chunky with pieces of tomato, onion and jalapeno, sweet and spicy with a nice finish of cilantro.

Our server was occupied with another large table, so one of the other server’s in the area stepped up and took another round of drink orders, with my mother ordering another margarita, the top shelf, which she felt was again average. I suggested trying one of the Hector’s specialty ones using some of the higher quality tequilas, but she was content with the top shelf ones.   I ordered a mojito, which the server mentioned they were running a special on a Bacardi Dragon berry mojitos, so I decided to give it a shot.  The mojito was very sweet, almost Kool-aid type of sweet, but the cool mint cut the sweetness. The bartender had a generous pour, which is always appreciated!  The substitute server was very attentive and personable (she is the daughter of the owner Hector) and got our drinks quickly and jumped on taking our orders. My father ordered the Carne Asada, while my mother ordered One Taco and One Chile Relleno (aka Combination Plate #2.) Mrs. Nom and I decided to split the Shrimp Combo fajitas for two, choosing to have the chicken and shrimp version (they also offer shrimp with beef.) We ordered the chicken strips meal and the corn dog meal for the kids.  Our orders arrived about 10-15 minutes after being put in, which for as busy as they were was better than I expected.

The shrimp combo fajitas arrived on two large platters, one sizzling metal skillet and a large boat of all the sides.  The metal skillet is piled high with a generous helping of onions, peppers, tomatoes, chicken and shrimp.  The meat is nicely seasoned, slightly salty and spicy with nice charring from the grill. The onions are transparent and slightly sweet, the peppers still firm and the tomatoes caramelized. The shrimp are large jumbo shrimp, and they don’t skimp on the shrimp, with 6-8 on the platter. The boat of sides has a large helping of guacamole, sour cream and lettuce, Mexican rice, re-fried beans and cheese.  Also included are fresh house made flour tortillas, made on a tortilla press in the dining room.  The tortillas might be one of my favorite parts of Hector’s, as they are consistently excellent, fresh and piping hot, and capable of holding up to full loads of fajita meat.  The best part about the fajita’s for two is the leftovers you get to take home for later!

The carne asada comes on a large oval platter, served with beans, a cheese & onion enchilada, guacamole, and the fresh tortillas. The steak is marinated sirloin, thinly cut, has a nice char sealing in the medium rare center.  Well seasoned, the steak is fork tender, and when paired with the enchilada sauce and guacamole in the fresh tortillas you get a nice bite.

My mother is a Chile Relleno connoisseur, ordering it at nearly every Mexican restaurant she eats at. Hector’s version of the chile relleno is breaded enough to give a crisp shell to the chile, but not so heavily breaded that it obliterates the chile. The Anaheim chile has a burn that pairs well with the richness of the jack cheese stuffing. My mother says Hector’s chile relleno is one of the better versions in Omaha.

Hectors always does a good job serving kids meals, with plates that are cool to the touch, good sized portions (order the chicken strips and take extras home for lunch!) and excellent sides like smiley face fries and applesauce. The menu features both mexican food items as well as the expected children’s items (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.) Each child gets a kids menu and a pack of crayons to help keep them entertained. On our many trips to Hectors, we have seen many families with children, and I would recommend Hectors as a place for families to go.

 Hector’s Baja Style Mexican

Atmosphere: 3.5/5

Service: 3/5

Food Quality: 3/5

Taste: 3.5/5

Value: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5  –  Hector’s is a great place to go for good Mexican food in Omaha. Consistently good food, a great place for families and good prices. Check them out at Hector’s.

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