There are some taquerías I decide to leave unreviewed, even if I frequent them. It’s not because I’d prefer to keep them a secret. Rather, it’s because I frequent them out of convenience, I don’t think I have much to add to the discussion, I’m saving them for a list/some other project or they’re so terrible I can’t stomach typing such vitriol.
Case in point: Cesar’s Tacos. It’s not that the Davis Street restaurant is bad. I patronize the joint regularly, especially when my in-laws visit. As a local chain, Cesar’s Tacos would be an ideal subject of a larger story. There comes a moment, though, when your original plan is scuttled and things head south.
My review of Cesar’s Tacos comes in here. My dining companion and I were aimed for eating tacos at Tienda Chori’s, a grocery store/headshop/taqueria/carniceria/pool hall near the Kessler Theater. But when I arrived at said oddity, I found it shuttered, gutted of fixtures—although the pool tables remained.
Cesar’s Tacos was within walking distance and so designated Plan B. Luckily, birria, a goat stew preparation was available. A no-brainer selection, the birria at Cesar’s is a stringy mass of rich crimson meat. That can stand against the poorest of tortillas, which at Cesar’s is critical. The yellow corn used here are uneven, at best. Sometimes cold, sometimes greasy, sometimes unfortunate.
The tortilla wrapped around the lubricious barbacoa had a coating of cold, solidified grease around one end of the taco.
The carnitas was sturdier than a newly lacquered door. While the ruddy, earthy tack of the al pastor shared more with chorizo than spit-roasted anything, it had the achiote-led seasoning expected of the preparation. It was the nopales that shone brightest and hottest during our meal. The julienne cactus pads sat in a red salsa furnishing feisty roundhouse attacks to the tonsils. The lengua? It was good enough to eat without remark.
For those who haven’t entered Cesar’s Tacos, a word of warning: It’s a metal-bars-and- linoleum-dominated joint with a salon’s worth of bad food photography and a bit on the sticky side but the birria and nopales make a visit worthwhile.Cesar’s Tacos y Gorditas 1106 W. Davis St. 214-943-4683