I spend a lot of time among chipped Formica, cracked tile and sticky counters. And do so happily. The joy I find in tacos is the sense of amazement 1977 audiences experienced when the star destroyer filled the screen in the opening scene of Star Wars. There are a lot of woahs, holy cows and what the hells. Whether my time at a taqueria is positive or punishing, though, I always learn something.
During a recent outing to Maple Avenue, I stepped into El Rey Del Grill, a restaurant reeking of cumin and floor cleaner, serving tacos not much more palatable than the mop used to with said floor cleaner.
With only four options on the menu, which included quesadillas, burritos and a carne asada platter, I had my work cut out for me.
And there they sat, withered, sad tacos wrapped in greasy, tepid tortillas.
The bistec was leathery. The pastor and cochinita pibil offered frustrating hints of seasoning, like downloading an album using a dial-up connection. The barbacoa was the most attractive of the bunch, in taste and appearance, but only a dump of salsa verde transformed the beef into something digestible.
My dining companion offered a silver-lining assessment, declaring the tacos a good value for 99 cents each.
However, for $.36 more one can get cabeza, suadero or lengua at Tacos La Banqueta—in tortillas that aren’t as oiled up as a competitive body builder on some niche sports network.
So what did I learn at El Rey Del Grill; rather, what did I re-learn? You often get what you pay for.El Rey Del Grill 4535 Maple Ave. 214-681-5161