Chile con carne, queso y pan de mais

  • Rebecca Zimmer photo
From the 01/21/2009 edition

What: Starliner's Chunky Chili ($7)

Why: Here's the beef

The rocking and rollicking Latin-tinged Starliner Diner clearly took the con carne description to heart when it concocted its marvelous and bounteously beefy Starliner Chunky Chili.

Sometimes served with a warning (this one can be a scorcher), its rich and zesty tomato broth is wrought with so much beef - both ground and bulky hacked sirloin-y hunks - that there simply isn't room for any beans. In fact, I'd say Starliner's Tejano-style chili is about as authentic as it gets around town.

But the colorful and funky diner also tacks on rich-eating finishing flourishes with submerged, ripped pieces of sweet, crusty housemade jalapeno cornbread, plus a blanket of cheddar cheese; these add-ons help tame the sting as well as lend even more taste-bud and textural interest and complexity.