Monday, January 27, 2014
Review: New place El Come Taco is already attracting fans
You’ll find El Come Taco situated in a small strip center along Fitzhugh Avenue, with only a banner announcing its existence.
DALLAS I typically stick to smoked meat when writing, but sometimes I need to step outside my self-imposed box and broaden my horizons. Why not do so with my second love?
It's a simple yet versatile concoction of cooked meat, diced cilantro and onions snuggled in a corn tortilla, often doubled up for durability. Like barbecue, if the meat is cooked right, sauce is unnecessary – though it can be great company.
I’m no taco connoisseur like Taco Trail’s author, Jose Maldonado, but when he speaks highly of a taco joint, I pay attention. It’s not often – if ever – I make a dedicated trip to a taqueria. When Ralat's photo of a taco from El Come Taco appeared on Instagram, my taste buds started talking.
Although the novelty taco can be entertaining and seemingly adventurous, do they serve sesos or tripas, or could they pull off a taco filled with chapulines? No. If you do not know what any of those words mean, allow me to translate – veal brains, calf intestines and grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers.
Growing up in Mexico City, brothers Luis and Javier Villalva worked for their family’s taqueria. Later on, older brother Luis found himself managing Café San Miguel then a little spot over in Fort Worth known as Revolver Taco Lounge.
With well over 10 years’ experience between the two and a plan, both combined their love of traditional street food with El Come Taco. The restaurant opened roughly eight weeks ago and has quickly gained fans and ground in the local taco scene. Lucky for us, they chose Dallas for their establishment.
Offering attractive hours for the late night crowd, I decided on going a bit later on a Thursday night. You’ll find El Come Taco situated in a small strip center along Fitzhugh Avenue, with only a banner announcing its existence.
On the inside is a brightly-colored polished, yet bare restaurant filled with tables, one TV, and a beverage cooler. There is also a dining bar along one wall. Each table has the burnt logo of the restaurant, the calavera, or a skull – a symbol mostly associated with the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.
According to Luis, the chalkboard menu provides a well representation of traditional street food found in Mexico City. Javier said several customers have asked for the chapulines taco due to Maldonado’s Instagram photo – the same photo that attracted me.
Luis stated he would like to make it a permanent item at some point. He even hinted at the possibility of the Maguey worm becoming a filling for tacos. The Maguey worm can either be a caterpillar or larva, dependent upon the color distinction. They feed off the agave plant in central Mexico, and this is one reason distribution would be difficult.
I ordered the lengua (tongue), pastor, pollo marinado, tripas, sesos, and campechano, which is a mixture of brisket and chorizo. Beside the lengua, each meat was cooked to a nice crisp texture, thus eliminating any possibility of slimy meat that could harm the integrity of the tortilla. No one likes a soggy tortilla.
The generous amount of cilantro can be overwhelming and may jeopardize the flavor of the meat, so remedy this by removing as much or as little to taste. You have a choice of four sauces, and every bottle is meant to be paired with different meats, as evident by the hand-written labels on the lids.
Providing a bit of heat, I found the green avocado sauce to be the most delectable. The other three sauces were a bit less flavorful and mild than one may expect. However, they’re worth trying a few drops with the respected taco pairings.
The menu doesn’t yield to tacos only. You’ll also find tortas, gringas, and even postres. After a quick education on traditional street tacos and listening to the direction the Villalva brothers want to go in, I suspect they will continue moving into a territory that other local taco joints have yet to venture into.
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