I got the call a couple hours before opening time. Luis Villalva, who had previously worked at Revolver Taco Lounge in Fort Worth and most recently worked with Taco Party (he was the guy in the soccer jersey manning the trompo at TacoCon), was finally ready to serve tacos at his own place, El Come [Koh-meh] Taco on Fitzhugh Avenue. “José, it’s Luis. We open El Come Taco at 5 p.m. Come eat some tacos,” was the voicemail message. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it for first service. But I made it for lunch the next day—the day I had waited for since Villalva clued me into his plan at TacoCon. And it was worth it.
El Come Taco translates to He Eats Taco, and, for the time being, tacos are all you can eat when you visit the taqueria. Villalva did tell me huaraches, quesadillas and other antojitos would join the slate eventually. Nevertheless, the tacos are enough. They’re also surprising. Not just because there are off-menu options but because Villalva and staff have brought a little of their former Mexico City operation, Transito, to East Dallas. As the taquero tells me, his taqueria in DF was a pushcart, which according to health regulations prevented him from using cilantro. “There was no place to wash it,” Villalva explains. Al dente cubes of potatoes with a happy sheen were a quick replacement. In honor of his former operation, he calls the tacos at El Come Taco “transito tacos.”
The superb knots of chicken are marinated in the same adobo that permeates the admirable pastor from the trompo standing at attention in a corner, blue licks of flame at either side. The net of caramelized onions given the pork balances the char. But this is about the chicken. The orange-red poultry shares real estate with zippy nopalitos matchsticks and wields a chile and citrus snap I wish the pastor had more of. The pastor, though, had twists of charred meat mixed in with juicy slices.
My taco de lengua was everything it needed to be, that is, lengua plain and simple. The cecina (salt beef) was fresh, salty and bright—and not pulverized into ant hill sand grains. Meanwhile, the cabeza was unabashed in its embrace of fat. The head meat was downright luscious. My tripas were chewy, sure, but if I had to force down intestine, the peppery take on the traditional filling at Come Taco would be the one. Chorizo isn’t on the menu at Come Taco. It’s cousin longaniza is. The vermillion-colored sausage rested in black-striped clumps in warm, white tortillas. Fold a cooked scallion into the taco for texture and punch.
Then there were the sesos, domino-size, cauliflower-shaped chunks of cow brains. My lunch companion with ties to the Rio Grande Valley professed his love for the stuff and that he put down several tacos de sesos anywhere, anytime, except at that particular meat at Come Taco. They were the last to be brought to the table. We were more than satisfied, and another taco was pushing it. He ate one and nonchalantly remarked, “taste like tofu.”
Each taco filling comes with a recommended salsa, prepared in-house. The one for the sesos was a fiery hammock in the chest made with chile de arbol and oregano. In other words, it was a pleasure—much like my time at Come Tacos. I look forward to seeing how Villalva and staff tweak the menu in the coming weeks—what they add, what they replace—and, maybe, just maybe, hope for tortillas hechas a mano. But if that won’t happen the tortillas being served now do the job well.El Come Taco 2513 N. Fitzhugh Ave. Dallas, TX 75204 214-821-3738