As important as follow-up visits are, I can’t make return trips to every review subject. Those I do eat at more than once are usually my favorite and the worst spots, including Los Torres, La Nueva Fresh & Hot, Mi Tierrita, La Banqueta, El Si Hay and Fuel City. My opinions of which remain unchanged.
Over the course of several visits during a three-year period—and six in the last month—my impression of El Taco del Rincon de Villa (formerly just dear old El Rincon de Villa), on the other hand, couldn’t have shifted by a greater margin: From mixed after my original visit to its current ranking in my top 10 (or as I thought to myself, Holy crap! When did this happen?). A taco cannot be outstanding without a superlative tortilla. One made from nixtamal is ideal, but a tortilla expertly handmade from masa harina will do the trick. It’s the latter than propels El Rincon’s tacos to a standing beyond most other DFW taquerías. Each tortilla is a touch thick with jagged edges, a strong pliancy, and what I can only call dulce.
In the center of each is placed a filling so exquisite the temptation to binge is difficult to resist. Don’t give in. Sit and relish the traditionally prepared carnitas. The glistening fat catches the light and texture alternates between crisp slats and soft, sugary pork. If a finer carnitas exists in North Texas, I’ve yet to encounter it.
The pastor here gets the classical treatment, though not always. The trompo is often used for catering gigs. Ask the server, who could easily be owner Oscar, if the trompo is in-house before requesting the pastor. If it is, order one—or two—with a bramble of char-lashed, rust-colored pork studded with caramelized pineapple cubes more orange than yellow. And of course the onions, which all but disappear in the mess, save for their own sweetness.
The barbacoa de borrego with its paddle of sourness and the tinga de pollo with its threads of smoky chicken are other knockouts.
Rajas con queso, thin strips of poblanos bound by cheese, set little torches against the sides of the mouth quickly tempered by a heavy hand of the house salsa verde, a blend of avocado and tomatillos. The fajitas are the real-deal skirt steak, and the nopales with cheese has bite. At El Rincon, the fish taco is a commendable grilled tilapia, skin on, given a dose of crema de chipotle. Ordering a shrimp taco won’t leave you disappointed, either.
The Hawaiian takes the common torta filling and adapts it to a taco. The pork is carnitas and the garnishing pineapple is fresh. However, it’s unable to stand up to it. It’s the only option that falters.
Tacos aren’t the only things that have changed at El Rincon. The building is undergoing a makeover. While the exterior will soon get a fresh coat of bright paint, the interior has already seen the removal of the colorful quotes attributed to the restaurant’s namesake. Thematic memorabilia, such as Villa’s wanted poster and famous snapshots have been gathered to the back nook. Manager Arturo Perez tells me the cables from the TV and speakers will soon be out of sight and that we’ll see new tacos joining the regular lineup. Oscar wants to add tacos typical of his native Mexico City, think tacos de canasta, suadero and guisados. I applaud this. Already the quality and accessibility has been ratcheted up. During my regular visits, I’ve seen a mixed clientele attracted by new signage and a tweaked name. Including a few new (and rare for DFW) treats could work. It’s worth a try. As is El Taco del Rincon de Villa right now.El Taco del Rincon de Villa 6867 Greenville Ave. 214-691-TACO