Friday, November 18, 2011
Taco Diner ~ Southlake, Texas
It feels kind of funny to label Taco Diner as a "taqueria", as this is about as far away as possible to the classic little humble street vendor as you can get. But essentially Taco Diner is in fact a taqueria. A high end, upscale taco truck. With chairs... and frozen margaritas. The diners' themselves are laid out in the classic 60's googie architecture style mixed with a tres hip late 90s ambiance. So if you feel so compelled, wander in alone with a newspaper tucked under your arm and instead of waffles, order up a taco la parilla... and a frozen margarita. Speaking of which, actually don't order a frozen margarita. They're average at best, and at $8 for a small glass, a ripoff to boot. And there ends my complaints about Taco Diner.
Because the food is quite good, and perhaps a bit surprising given the relative blandness of their flagship Mi Cocina tex-mex franchise. Taco Diner is yet another wing of the "M Crowd" (to me this sounds like a late 90s electronica group - which definitely fits their persona). The chips are homemade tortillas, hand broken, and comes with two mild salsas (one green, one red). If you ask for more a spicy alternative, you will be brought a creamy green serrano and an orange-ish chile de arbol sauce. The latter is pretty hot, but lacks flavor. The former is the winner of the group, with the same level of spice, and a fantastic pepper flavor. I tried 4 tacos on this visit: chicken and pork al pastor, bistec and fish. Funny enough I had trouble discerning between the pork and the chicken, but the pastor is very good - though not as yummy as Tres Casas in Keller. The carne had a fine grilled meat flavor. And the tilapia featured the most seasoning, though the achiote citrus marinade was a bit too sweet for my liking. All and all a fine selection - and priced well at $10 for the 4 (you'll pay more at Yucatan). Mrs. RJG settled on the Tacos Cancun, and I think her tacos were even better than mine. Excellent shrimp and spices.
Our first experience with Taco Diner was at the Las Colinas location (~2006), but shortly thereafter they opened the one in Southlake Town Square. Along with Five Guys and Snuffers, this is your best bet for lunch if shopping in the area.