Amid construction, industrial workshops and medical office buildings sits the Taco Pronto Café, a greasy spoon with house-made flour tortillas and specialties like spam and beans. A wood-carved portly, bearded man, tattooed with the years of greetings and messages from customers and adorned with religious paraphernalia stands just inside the entrance. It’s the kind of eating establishment that even when frantically busy is a place where one can take a load off, sip coffee and decompress with comforting tacos, maybe menudo.
Although we didn’t request the stomach soup, my family did order the fresh flour tortillas the waitress recommended. “The corn tortillas are store-bought. Go with the flour.” They transformed what could have been mediocre tacos into meritorious ones packed with stick-to-your-ribs goods, particularly the long list of breakfast tacos served all day.
The chorizo and beans mixture was an ugly block of piquant and warming protein. Mellow ground beef was presented in a fried-to-order taco shell, garnishes held by request of my son, whose preference lean toward “strong tacos.” While he enjoyed his early lunch, my wife, mother-in-law and I were downright impressed by the bites we sneaked. The crunchy beef taco at the Taco Pronto Café, with its wavy edges and striking snap—is what a crunchy taco should be. It’s the standard-bearer. It’s glorious. It alone makes a trip to the Medical District restaurant worth it.
Our barbacoa was a rich collection of shredded beef and our lengua tacos were grassy in flavor and soothing. The chorizo and egg was bright morning starter filled with ingredients that were fated to marry. However, not all was superlative. The brisket taco was just that: a slice of overly chewy beef with soggy bark dressed in a tight-fitting cloying red sauce and wrapped in a tortilla of uneven thickness. Large chunks of meat in sweet gravy characterized the pork guiso, also available in beef.
While perfection wasn’t found everywhere during our meal of two-dollar tacos, what was evident was the type of food that comes with experience. Taco Pronto opened in 1990 but not at its current location. Originally, the Tex-Mex dinner sat a block up Harry Hines in a yellow shack next to a mechanic’s garage. A portrait of the original site hangs above the cash register, a classic car parked out front.
The present address might not have the patina of its predecessor, but it finally fits into its shell—it’s where the business should be—much like a gangly teenager eventually fits into his body. And the Taco Pronto Café does a body good.The Taco Pronto Café 6801 Harry Hines Blvd 214-678-9191