Monday, July 23, 2012
Taco review: Cesar’s Tacos y Gorditas in Dallas
It’s a metal-bars-and-linoleum joint with a salon’s worth of bad food photography, but the birria and nopales are worth it.
OAK CLIFF There are some taquerías I decide to leave unreviewed, even if I frequent them. It’s not because I’d prefer to keep them a secret. Rather, it’s because I frequent them out of convenience, I don’t think I have much to add to the discussion, I’m saving them for a list/some other project, or they’re so terrible I can’t stomach typing such vitriol.
Case in point: Cesar's Tacos. It’s not that the Davis Street restaurant is bad. I patronize the joint regularly, especially when my in-laws visit. As a local chain, Cesar’s Tacos would be an ideal subject of a larger story. There comes a moment, though, when your original plan is scuttled and things head south.
My review of Cesar’s Tacos comes in here. My dining companion and I were aimed for eating tacos at Tienda Chori’s, a grocery store/headshop/taqueria/carniceria/pool hall near the Kessler Theater. But when I arrived at said oddity, I found it shuttered, gutted of fixtures — although the pool tables remained.
Cesar’s Tacos was within walking distance and so designated Plan B. Luckily, birria, a goat stew preparation, was available. A no-brainer selection, the birria at Cesar’s is a stringy mass of rich crimson meat that can stand against the poorest of tortillas, which at Cesar’s is critical. The yellow corn tortillas used here are uneven, at best -- sometimes cold, sometimes greasy, sometimes unfortunate.
The tortilla wrapped around the lubricious barbacoa had a coating of cold, solidified grease around one end of the taco.
The carnitas was sturdier than a newly lacquered door. While the ruddy, earthy tack of the al pastor shared more with chorizo than spit-roasted anything, it had the achiote-led seasoning expected of the preparation. It was the nopales that shone brightest and hottest during our meal. The julienne cactus pads sat in a red salsa furnishing feisty roundhouse attacks to the tonsils. The lengua? It was good enough to eat without remark.
For those who haven’t entered Cesar’s Tacos, a word of warning: It’s a metal-bars-and- linoleum-dominated joint with a salon’s worth of bad food photography and a bit on the sticky side, but the birria and nopales make a visit worthwhile.
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