“Yeow! That’s hot,” screamed the young man working the fryer at Taco Wagon, which opened in June after a more than a year of renovation and taunting fans of the original Taco Wagon with its coming soon sign, the $5 pony rides in the old drive-in’s parking lot adding a new twist to the anticipation. His pain was a good sign. It meant the crispy taco I ordered would come with a freshly fried shell.
That taco dorado is the anchor of the Tex-Mex menu that includes breakfast tacos and guisos to be eaten under the corrugated metal roof patio with wrought-iron outdoor furniture adjacent to the 1950s building in a shape reminiscent of an old covered wagon, a reminder of the original occupant, the Chuck Wagon. A car under the drive-in shelter in the gravel parking and to-go are the other dining options.
However, a fresh crispy taco is best consumed immediately after serving while it’s still hot. Transportation increases the chance of a soggy shell. Given the works, the crispy taco put out by the Carizzales family at Taco Wagon is stellar in texture and punchiness. I ordered the taco filled with ground beef. But any of the filling selections can be substituted. Try the guisado, hot enough to turn your chest into an oven and heavy on the cumin.
Not as enjoyable was the breakfast taco. The chorizo lacked kicked—it wasn’t cooked mixed with the springy eggs—and the flour tortilla was gummy. Better was the guisado in a slightly greasy yellow corn tortilla.
As mentioned above, the selections skew toward Tex-Mex. So, don’t arrive expecting the carnitas from the Taco Wagon’s previous incarnation, dubbed “the finest carnitas tacos in the Cliff,” by Rob Shearer, nor anything resembling the superlative tacos de trompo from Fito’s and Mi Tierrita, also on Davis Street. No tacos al vapor or piratas here. The greasy, late-night parcels from Cesar’s Tacos y Tortas and La Paisanita? Nope. Taco Wagon is for those hungry for a sincere take on regional standards north of the border.Taco Wagon 3320 W. Davis St. Dallas, TX 75211 214-467-3690