Taco ’bout it
Who doesn’t love tacos? I’m not talking about the fast-food crispy variety. I mean Mexican “street tacos,” a marriage of meat, veggies and salsa atop a couple of diminutive white corn tortillas doubled up to prevent spillage. It’s hard to find a part of town that doesn’t have tacos close at hand. After moving the popular eatery Midtown Eats to a larger location across the street, the owners have rebranded the original shop as Midtown Tacos.
The two of us started with the day’s special—housemade chicharones ($3)—served with a green salsa that we were rightly cautioned on—great flavor, serious heat. The pile of seasoned, fried pork skin was perfectly tasty on its own, dusted in something savory and lightly spicy. The guacamole appetizer ($6) involved a bag of housemade red tortilla chips served with a whole avocado “guac’d” to order. Lest you doubt the freshness or fullness of the dish, the avocado pit is included in the bowl as—garnish? The flavor was very fresh, with flavors of lime and cilantro and very little spice.
Tacos are sold $6 for two or $8 for three, with no option to mix and match. Most taquerias allow you to order whatever combination of flavors you like, with prices generally well below $3 a bite. This was the only off-putting aspect of our experience. Since we wanted a decent sampling of the menu, our satisfying meal was easily the most expensive taco run I’ve ever done.
The tacos start with an outsourced white corn tortilla, which is slightly crisped on the grill. I appreciate this technique because it helps prevent the split-tortilla issue while cutting the carbs in half and adding texture.
The chicken tacos were perhaps the least interesting. Most of the flavor came from the cilantro and salsa verde. The meat was less flavorful.
Beef tacos featured braised chuck with poblano salsa, and, though my wife really enjoyed them, I found the taste to be a bit too sweet.
I ordered huevos rojos—which would have included egg and chorizo—but received chorizo tacos sans egg plus taqueria pickle. However, since I was mostly interested in the housemade sausage, I ignored the mistake. The chorizo had good flavor and just enough kick, but I wish I’d received what I ordered. The pickle added a bit of vinegar and sweetness that was interesting.
Unlike traditional spit-roasted al pastor, the pork confit taco had a much softer texture. Lightly sweet with flavors of charred pineapple and achiote seed, it was generally good. Carnitas—meaning “little meats”—usually refers to pork shoulder that has been braised in broth or lard, then either shredded or chopped into small pieces. I’m not sure the use of pork belly for carnitas tacos really worked. The texture was a bit mushy.
Best of all were the pescado and cheeseburger tacos. The pescado featured a nice piece of battered fish with light sauce, basic slaw and a slice of avocado. The cheeseburger taco came with loose hamburger, a mustard-based sauce, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. It tasted exactly like a cheeseburger—if the bun was a corn tortilla—and made for a tasty if unconventional taco.
The food is fresh and flavorful, but with so many great taco options in town I don’t know that Midtown Tacos will be a repeat destination.