Torchy's Tacos ~ Southlake, Texas
Austin based Torchy's is the latest high end taco place to infiltrate Northeast Tarrant county. Like their brethren Fuzzy's, Funky Baja's, Taco Diner, and Tacos y Mas, Torchy's provides a range of tacos far beyond the usual crunchy ground beef, or taqueria styled "street tacos". Ingredients such as pork green chile, fried chicken, ahi tuna, blackened salmon, jalapeno sausage, and jerk chicken, with an array of salsa's to choose from, is what you'll find at Torchy's.
Mrs. RJG and I recently tried Torchy's for the first time, and sampled four of their tacos: Green Chile Pork, Trailer Park, Baja Shrimp, and Chicken Fajita. As well we had three of their salsa's (all conveniently served in a small plastic cup): Tomatillo, Chipotle, and Diablo. And I'm glad to say that everything was absolutely excellent. The tacos are big, per urban protocol, and are loaded with meats, pico, and other fillings depending on the taco. The Green Chile Pork was a bit dry, with very few green chilies, but had a great flavor. It's definitely not the type of green chile one would find in New Mexico or Colorado, but we already guessed that going in. The Trailer Park is a fried chicken taco. One option is to get it "trashy" with queso instead of lettuce, but I wanted to keep it from being too messy so I didn't choose that route. The Baja Shrimp is fried, and superb. And the fajita chicken has a wonderful marinate and a great flavor. The green Tomatillo and the creamy Chipotle sauces were both excellent, the latter having a mild kick. The Diablo sauce is also creamy and reminds me a lot of Fresco's Chile de Arbol salsa. They say it's habanero, but I honestly didn't get the habanero taste this time. And while it was hot, it wasn't screaming spicy. But it was still our favorite. Of course it was...
As well, and it's not readily apparent on their website, Torchy's offers adult beverages like beer and frozen margarita's. I had the latter, and it's a very tasty mix. They serve it in a small plastic cup, but it packs a punch.
If I had to nitpick, I'd say Torchy's is a bit pricey compared to the competition. Considering Torchy's tacos are on par with those at Funky Baja's (size, ingredients), I think we have an apples to apples situation. Funky Baja's charges $3 each, while Torchy's range from $3.25 to $4.75 depending. And the margarita was $4.50, which sounds good until you realize just how small it is. It's a minor gripe, and will have zero impact on our willingness to continue repeat visits, but for those who are on tighter budgets, it might be a tougher sell.
The interior features fun paintings with Torchy's Little Devil embedded into famous art scenes, e.g. Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" and Van Gogh's "The Starry Night".
Torchy's is a great addition to the Northeast Tarrant taco landscape. We'll be returning. Many times I hope.
As an aside, based on some recent feedback, it's been requested nicely not to call these type of taco restaurants "taquerias", and I have to agree with their point of view. So I've come up with a new nomenclature called "Tacos y Margaritas", and I will update the other entries as appropriate.
January 2014 update: Ever since we first came here, Torchy's Tacos has remained very popular with lines out the door. It appears they have a license to print money. On this visit, Mrs. RJG and I were with Official Niece #1 (age 21) and we enjoyed a quick snack of one taco each. My favorite has become The Republican, which comes with a perfectly spiced jalapeno grilled sausage, cut in half, and get that with the Diablo sauce. Which they always forget to include. Niece #1 had The Democrat, what is basically their beef barbacoa taco, which she enjoyed but it had "too much meat" (how is that possible? asks Uncle RJG) for her tastes. However that didn't stop her from cleaning up the basket with a fork later on. And Mrs. RJG had Mr. Orange (blackened salmon), and could now be considered her favorite taco here. Since we were their only for a snack, I didn't imbibe in one of their potent margaritas - something that was hard to give up, but alas I had to take one for the team. Sigh.