500 Tacos: Margarita’s Mexican Grill

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Margarita’s Mexican Grill
6301 W. Parmer Lane (map), 512-436-9416, www.margaritamexicangrill.com
Hours: 11am-9pm Mon-Thu; 10am-10pm Fri-Sat; closed Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.28.15
Clad in the brand-new limestone and glass of an upmarket North Austin strip mall, Margarita’s isn’t a place you’d expect to find something with heart. But if you judge by what’s on the plate rather than what’s in your head, you might be surprised. I looked past the roast beef, barbacoa and fajita tacos on the menu and turned Margarita’s into my own personal Home Depot for do-it-yourself tacos.
Taco A: Carne con chile verde
Mexican restaurants do some of their best work on combo plates, and to the enterprising taco engineer, that’s not a challenge; it’s an opportunity. Margarita’s handmade flour tortilla is a strong foundation for a DIY taco from the green chile pork plate, and the thick, tart and spicy chile braise is like mortar for quarried blocks of lean roasted pork. At the plate lunch price of $7.49 — enough for two tacos and then some — it’s also an excellent value. ($7.49 with rice, beans, tea and tortillas at lunch 11-3 Mon-Fri/$8.99 at dinner)
Taco B: Migas a la Mexicana
What’s better than migas with fresh pico and crisp tortilla strips in warm scrambled eggs? Building a taco on a fresh corn tortilla with them, for starters, then adding soft-fried potatoes and a piece of bacon. They could lose some of the tortilla strips and add more eggs, but at $7.29, the plate is like a well-stocked breakfast taco warehouse, with a side of borracho beans.
 Tortillas: The flour tortillas hit some stiff and chalky spots, and the corn tortillas tear along their mealier midlines when they try to bend, but both are handmade — and even with their faults, I respect their flavor and craft more than commercial tortillas any day.
 Salsa: A simple salsa fresca with sharp, crisp pepper heat.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)