I lump specialty and traditional tacos in my Best Of lists because the pesky issue of taco authenticity is something I overcame long ago. The breakfast taco (a Tex-Mex classic) is no less legitimate than a taco al pastor (an iconic Mexico City snack appropriated from the roasting preparation Lebanese immigrants brought with them in the 20th century). The same goes for Velvet Taco’s fare or the Taco Bell-Frito Lay chimera, the Doritos Locos Tacos.
Today, I temporarily separate the categories. The specialty/gourmet/gringo/upmarket/whatever you want to call the tacos that do not adhere strictly to a misplaced perception of the uber-traditional deserve as much praise and scrutiny as the liquid fire of the guisado verde from La Nueva Fresh & Hot or the crackerjack carnitas from El Pueblo Restaurant on Jefferson Avenue. This list, then, gives greater attention to tacos and restaurants who have earned it. And now—with old favorites and double-takes—in no particular order: Continue reading