Food & Drink » Wine & Dine Review

Mex-Taco Loco



I can barely hear the soccer game blaring on the three televisions inside Mex-Taco Loco over the rumbling of my boyfriend's stomach. He's already got a good appetite going, but the sight of platters laden with massive tacos on passing servers' trays is almost too much for him. We're so hungry we can barely maintain a conversation, which works out just fine -- someone has cued the jukebox to play Mexican pop so loud our table vibrates. The wait for lunch only feels long, and when it arrives, I'm shocked at the size of the tacos. A friendly cashier informed us that the tacos were "really big," and she wasn't kidding. There's no way you can eat them with just one hand.The roast with the most: Mex-Taco Loco's vinyl booths are the color of sun-faded terra cotta and squishy and comfortable, all the better to support your sated self. The taqueria is clean and bright with spotless white walls, and the numerous feasting families add to the cheer. Perhaps the best thing about Mex-Taco, however, is the gyro spit. Instead of gyro meat, this spit is stacked with marinated pork that winds up as the al pastor plate ($8.50) and al pastor tacos ($1.70 each). Whether you snarf them down with rice and beans or piled Stone Mountain-high on corn tortillas, you won't let a single shred escape. A crackly edge lends the pork a lip-smacking bacon texture and flavor, while the rest of the meat remains moist and yielding.Sunday Revival: I love the variety of restorative items on the menu, such as the outstanding pozole ($7.50), an orangey-red soup of stewed pork and large hominy. The soup is also generously portioned, served in a bowl big enough to baptize a baby in. The broth is rich and fragrant with ancho and pasilla peppers, and the hominy is toothy and nutty. I imagine they serve pozole only on weekends not just because it involves a bit of preparation, but it makes the diner feel quite hale and hearty after an amorous night with the beer keg. The delightfully named vuelve a la vida ($12), a seafood cocktail, does work wonders. It returns you back to life with refreshing tomato broth, plump shrimp, baby octopus, squid, oyster and scallops, served with a flourish in a highball.Mmm beefy: Priced at $1.70 each, Mex-Taco Loco's tacos offer one of the best values in town for diners on a carnivorous streak. The barbacoa (shredded beef) features what can only be properly described as an obscenity of meat -- the actual quantity runs close to six ounces. Superbly dank and tender from long braising, the barbacoa's made all the more delicious with a lashing of the guacatillo sauce, a creamy guacamole-like salsa. Carnitas (braised pork) here is spoon-soft, mild and sweet. You could make a meal out of just two tacos.Never able to turn a sausage down, though, I gave the chorizo taco a go. This Mexican sausage's garlicky flavor and toasty browned bits married beautifully with a dose of pico de gallo salsa. After this bacchanalia of taco eating, I just about needed a shopping cart to lug myself to the car. But my wallet was just barely lighter for the deal.

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