500 Tacos: Beto’s Mexican Restaurant
An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Beto’s Mexican Restaurant
3518 E. Seventh St., Austin (map), 512-386-5013
Hours: 6am-10pm Mon-Sat; 7am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 11.06.15
At most taco places, if I ask a waitress to recommend something, the answer usually comes back beef or chicken fajitas. The safety taco, fit for man and hermano alike. So when my waitress at Beto’s recommended tripas — “Are you OK with tripas?” — I knew I was in the right place to move beyond safety tacos and go with lengua, tripas and suadero.
The taco: Suadero
Beef belly is like veal without the guilt: tender, milky white, full of fat and lean and promise. The cook goes easy on the delicate meat, preserving the pearled luster under a light sear with just salt and pepper. ($2.80)
► Lengua and tripas: Don’t let the half-rendered fat scare you away from this roasted tongue taco, because the lean and muscular meat balances out for a rich, iron flavor, peeled to take away any alien textures or gamey afterglow. Tripas here are fried hard and crunchy, and the little tubes hang onto the grease like they’re planning on recycling it. These are good things, and I can see why the waitress would single them out. ($2.80 each)
► Al pastor: What this pastor’s missing in sharp red adobo spicing it makes up for with pineapple twang and pork in that textural sweet spot between roasted and fried. ($2.80)
► Breakfast: Eggs a la Mexicana are proof that sometimes subtraction works just as well as addition in the kitchen. This taco does everything a migas taco can do — deliver a protein boost of freshly scrambled eggs backed up with pico de gallo power points — without the extra payload of chips and cheese. Beto’s serves breakfast all day, with breakfast tacos starting at $1.99 or three for $3.50 before 11 a.m.
► Tortillas: Beto’s makes its own thick, chewy corn tortillas. Flour tortillas come from a bag. But it’s a good bag, with tortillas thick and fluffy and given a thorough palomino toasting on the grill.
► Salsa: The table sauce is a thick, fresh blender red as mild as V8 juice. A creamy jalapeño verde brings the fire, with seeds, skins and all.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)