I’ll never be cool. Cool people keep their cool. Eating great tacos makes me want to shout and dance. The selection at the Tacos La Banqueta in Arlington, the largest of the area chain’s outposts (two locations in Dallas, one recently opened in Fort Worth) make keeping my composure impossible.
All five tacos my wife and I enjoyed were clean—except when they weren’t supposed to be, in the case of the cabeza, which had pulling beef and nuggets of fat clinging to the meat kept tidy within bantam oil-free tortillas and no sign of cracking under the pressure of its filling.
The cabeza retains its place in the holy trinity of La Banqueta’s tacos, along with the lengua served in whole slices that require the eater to confront the muscle’s former life and the suadero, the twice-cooked brisket that is restaurant’s specialty.
The trio were crackerjack renditions that leave no doubt Tacos La Banqueta is among the greatest North Texas taquerías critically praised but somehow never heard of by the legion of taco lovers who whirr past the stores focused on their destinations—work, home, school, some other restaurant.
This restaurant is also easily overlooked. Tacos La Banqueta shares Pioneer Parkway real estate with myriad Latin American and Asian businesses, be they a Thai grocery or a tortilleria, occupying the former sites of fast-food joints and long-forgotten supermarket chains.
Inside, it seems stalled in the renovation process. Floor tiles have been removed but not replaced. Paper covers the inside of the glassed-in porch’s windows. But all that is difficult to notice when you’re sharing space with families reining in cheeky children, groups of men getting their hands dirty with stacked huaraches and five teenage girls flirting with a handsome waiter attending to their every need. How did he not spill the aguas frescas he held in his arms like kindling? It’s a comfortable restaurant where even the least impressive taco of our meal, the bistek, wasn’t bad.
It was just mistakenly brought to our table. We had ordered the pastor. The beef’s juicy knots were too small, more like large fingernail clippings—the best ever—pushed into a pile than exquisite bits speckled with char that when found by tongue and teeth fired across the palate the urge to dance and shout.
Try it. See if you can keep your cool.Tacos La Banqueta 1021 E. Pioneer Pkwy., Arlington 817-459-1122