Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tacos y Mas, Tacos y Tacos, Keller-TX

Last visit: January 2014

Rating: Hold

Other locations: Dallas (3)

January 2014 update: It appears Tacos y Mas is under new management. And with that out went the margaritas, and I think beer, though the lady behind the counter didn't seem sure herself. As such, I have to come up with a new category. I don't like Fresh Mex, so we'll call it tacos y tacos (though it's tempting to call the category tacos y mas). Everything else is mostly the same, including the delicious 5 salsas. I was disappointed with the Senorita Chicken which I thought was too wet, and the flour tortillas seemed warmed over right out of the bag. As such I'm moving my rating from Buy to Hold.

April 2013 update: Tacos y Mas now serves beer and margaritas. Their frozen margaritas are quite good too!

Original review

So the RJG recently had a week off from work, and decided not to travel this time around. Rather, this might be a good time to catch up on a few restaurants we wanted to try, especially some newer ones that looked quite fetching. And what better way to kick-off The RJG Restaurant Week, than a visit from none other Mr. Music, who came over for a day of music, craft beers and of course restaurants. Of the places we visited this week, only Tacos y Mas I had been prior. A few times actually, as Mrs. RJG had become a regular before I even took my first wonderful bite. Since Mr. Music is a bit of a taqueria aficionado, I thought he'd appreciate a visit to Keller's newest taco haunt.

As Mr. Music noted, Tacos y Mas sort of fits a middle ground between the hardcore barrio lengua and sesos taqueria and the high end frozen margarita fueled fancy tacos that have penetrated the more affluent areas within the last couple of years. There are no margaritas here (though I noticed they did apply for a liquor license, so maybe they're coming) and the meats do not feature tongue and brains.

After sampling a few of their tacos, I have to say the "senorita" is an absolute must. Wonderful tinga styled chicken that is quite spicy, and doesn't require any sauce. As for the $2 street tacos, definitely try the grilled chicken, steak or al pastor. All the meats are well cooked, loaded to the top, with a great flavor on their own without needing a sauce - and they sprinkle a little onion and add a lime wedge to each. But perhaps the real exciting factor is indeed their 5 salsas that are stored in convenient squeeze bottles. The mildest is a chipotle mayonnaise sauce, that is delicious and goes best with any of their chicken dishes. The next sauce on the "spice meter" is the Ranchero, which is a noticeable step up on the heat. It's a typical red, but very tasty. The Verde sauce is next, and is arguable as to whether it's hotter than the red. Most likely it has more to do with the peppers in season rather than the recipe. The next two are the real winners of the batch for the RJG: The Bombero which is a mix of all sorts of chile peppers and was Mr. Music's favorite, and the Roja, a chile de arbol mixture that is my favorite. And they're working on a supposedly hotter green one that will be offered soon. I cannot wait. Anyway, I tend to splatter random sauces all over my tacos - and end up eating all of them in equal amounts. Well, maybe an extra squeeze or two for the Roja. OK, maybe 3...

Tacos y Mas has a history dating back to 1997, and was pretty much a taco truck in a parking lot - that became known in Dallas via word of mouth. Now investors have joined in, and the Dallas Forest Lane location along with this Keller branch are their first forays into the "Mexican Grill" concept. I'm rather certain they plan on expanding from here. I do think they have a good thing going here, and fit a niche between the suburbanite sports-bar-taco-houses like Funky Baja's or Fuzzy's Taco Shop - and more traditional taquerias like Austin Taco House and Jalapeno's (US 377 location).

The location in Keller that Tacos y Mas resides in also has a bit of history. Well, not their location but the one their predecessor moved into. Snooty Pig (a good restaurant that we've not written about yet) inhabited this space for many years, and as one of the only independent breakfast places around, was always too crowded for the relatively small spot. So they moved to the much large space a few doors down that was once inhabited by the very good Mezza Luna, a higher end Italian place that we wrote about a long time ago. Following their demise, a Thai restaurant called West of Asia took over. Quite frankly they were awful and I said as much on Urbanspoon. The owner surprisingly took me to task on the website, to which I responded even more harshly - and I'm sure did him no favors with potential new diners (who likes to see a spiteful owner? Just let the food do the talking!). They went out of business in about 3 months (no surprise to me), but resurfaced again as Chan of Asia (easy to change only one name on the neon sign right?). We didn't bother to go again to see if they magically improved, but of course they went out of business again shortly thereafter. At least now, a legitimately popular restaurant in Snooty Pig has usurped the spot, and will most likely be there for many years to come.

Anyway - give Tacos y Mas a shot and let us know what you think.


Tacos Y Mas 4 on Urbanspoon


Kairosntx said...

Been an avid RJG reader for several years. I've got to say we LOVE Tacos y Mas. We've been 5 times; taking friends with us after we checked it out on our own first. One reason we love it is you can (almost) always find a coupon online! Gotta love good food with a good deal.

RJG said...

Thanks for the comment Kairosntx!