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Taco Taco

145 E. Hildebrand Ave., San Antonio, TX - (210) 822-9533
Posted By Michael Stern on July 4, 2010 9:32 AM
Across McCullough Avenue from the old Olmos Pharmacy (which has become a beer and wine bistro and live music venue), Taco Taco is a small cafe that serves outstanding tacos in a city with so many good ones that it is hard to stand out. As in all the good places, the tortillas are rolled out by hand and griddle cooked as breakfast and lunch are served. This means yours will be warm and fresh -- delicious to eat with no filling whatsoever.

But, oh, the barbacoa (weekends only)! It is the tenderest, most unctuous smoky beef imaginable, slowly roasted and loaded into the taco in great shredded clods that audibly ooze when bitten. No other ingredients are warranted in this taco, whereas a chicken taco revels in a layer of refritos and a sprinkle of cheese, and a potato and egg breakfast taco reaches heights when generously dolloped with the kitchen's marvelous salsa. Puffy tacos, a San Antonio passion, also are available -- the same ingredients but enveloped in a tortilla that has been fried just enough to swell and soften. And thumbs up to the specialty tacos, made on tortillas that are double-wide. The El Norteno contains sizzled chicken (or beef) with beans, slices of avocado, cheese, peppers and onions. The Fiesta is fajita-grilled chicken with chunky pico de gallo. Meals begin with excellent tortilla chips and that salsa, which I find completely impossible to stop eating until all chips are gone or the main course arrives.

Expect to wait for a table at meal time. The place is tiny and its goodness is no secret.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
El Norteno
Barbacoa Taco
Puffy Taco
Fiesta Taco
Menudo (cup)
Picadillo Taco
Gordita
Ice Tea

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Posted By nick golowich on March 16, 2015 9:57 PM
Taco Taco
Review

1 Star out of 5

My family and I went to the Taco Taco restaurant, a Trip Advisor, Yelp, Bon Appetit and Roadfood.com recommended establishment. Let's start with a firm indicator of any restaurant: the restroom facilities. Theirs was filthy: broken paper towel and soap dispensers, a stench of stale urine and debris on the floor. Nails stuck out of the door. The garbage was not confined to the bathrooms. The floor mat near the entrance and the floors in the kitchen appeared to have not been washed in several days.

At the table, we were given small containers of salsa and chips, both of which appear to be store-bought. The salsa was tasteless. We asked for "salsa picante" which we hoped would be a little tastier. No such luck. We asked if the cook could throw a couple of jalapeƱos in the deep fryer so we could get a little more taste and heat. No such luck: "The cooks are too busy."

The restaurant was barely half filled. We ordered The Norteno Burrito, a Taco Beef Asada, a Taco Beef Carnitas and a Bean and Rice Taco. The middle two dishes were nondescript. They required the addition of salt (always a concerning sign), because they were bland. The carnitas resembled tough canned meat that one might get from a Hormel brand. The Norteno Burrito was supposed to contain onions, cheese, avocado, meat, beans, and peppers. Oh, and taste, one would assume. It came with no onions, one underripe slice of avocado, two or three strands of uncooked slices of pepper, a ton of watery beans, and a tough, stringy meat. It was such a train wreck that it had to be sent back, a request that caused a stink (no pun intended to bring up the cleanliness of the restaurant again) that will be detailed below. The beans and rice were ... well by now, Dear Reader, you know the drill: bland, amateurish and basically inedible. All dishes are served on a doughy shell that was a dominant, and undesirable, component that closely resembled naan-bread.

We voiced our complaints. The server apologized and later said we could have the Norteno taken off the bill (no mention of the bean and rice taco, but we didn't press the point). At that point, one would think that a manager would have come to our table to try to make things right. No such luck, and the lack of concern became a turning point in our experience.

When it was time to leave, the manager grilled me about what had gone wrong. He indignantly (as if throwing his hands up in disgust and anger) refunded the cost of the Norteno. Just then, a woman (I think it was actually his mother!) scolded me because "These are the best tacos in America!" In addition to her lack of scientific validly due to my assumption that her sample size did not approach every other taco maker in the country, she also accused me of lying: "Your plate was empty! You ate it all." I reminded her that she did not look at my wife's plate which contained almost an entire untouched meal.

Nice try, Taco Taco, but the only thing more egregious than the culinary experience was the managerial response! What is truly puzzling to me, however, is how all of the afore-mentioned critics could have misled their readers so strongly. Perhaps any restaurant can clean up when they know they are going to have a VIP ... sort of like how some teachers put on a dog and pony show when they know they are going to be observed.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
El Norteno

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Posted By Mary Hockman on May 14, 2012 8:13 PM
We ate here in April 2012 on the advice of this board. Our party ordered tacos and enchiladas. Very ordinary. You can do much better elsewhere in San Antonio. Prices were low.
1 star rating
Overall Rating

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