Within seconds of being seated, our waitress at E Bar Tex Mex boasted, “our taco de carnitas is an award winner.” It won best taco at the Great Taco Run, a Luke’s Locker-hosted race with a parking lot full of taco vendors at the finish line, I was invited to judge.
The taco that day in September had the characteristic roasted flavors and seared edges of standard carnitas: non-traditonally prepared (read: not fried in fat). It was an approximate facsimile to the real thing, much like modern barbacoa (read: not pit smoked). The carnitas was given a shot of cheese, providing a pleasing pungency.
I was at the restaurant, which opened in August from Eddie Cervantes (Primo’s Bar & Grille), to determine if it held up to the honor my fellow judges and I unanimously gave it.
It did not.
The carnitas was soggy. A rush of liquid flowed from one end when I raised it to my mouth. Little of it was absorbed by the flour tortilla, a gummy disc ideal for consumption by a diner who left his dentures at home. There were no crunchy bits. Not even the slightly spicy chipotle sauce could salvage it.
Meanwhile, the shrimp taco was a bland selection with cubed avocado, black beans and some applewood smoked bacon that might as well have been left out.
The à la carte brisket taco a soupy offering garnished with soggy peppers and onions and accompanied by a side of unnecessary au jus was more Texas dip than Lone Star staple. While the brisket carried more flavor than the carnitas, it was in no way, shape or form worth $4.95. It left me feeling fleeced, especially when, after tip, I paid almost twice what I spend splitting the entirety of Stampede 66’s excellent tacos, including a drink. At Stampede 66, I always come away full and happy from a quick meal of high-quality vittles. Not that the new restaurant from Stephan Pyles is a flawless monument to tacos and Texas foodways, but it is the most exciting—and important—addition to Dallas’ taco scene this year. Stampede 66 is a sign of things to come. Expect a review soon.
The only thing impeccable at E Bar Tex Mex was the service. And that is not enough.E Bar Tex Mex 1901 N. Haskell Ave., Ste. 120 214-824-3227