500 Tacos: Tacodeli | Westlake

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Tacodeli | Westlake
701 S. Capital of Texas Highway in the Village at Westlake (map), 512-347-8888, www.tacodeli.com
Hours: 7-11am breakfast, 11am-3pm lunch Mon-Fri;
8am-3pm Sat-Sun with breakfast all day and lunch starting at 11am
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.15.15
 
Tacodeli brings a taste of Austin restaurant culture to West Lake Hills in two ways. 1: There’s a line out the door at lunchtime, because standing in line is what we do best. And 2: They ran out of the pork belly special before I got to the counter, and cochinita pibil shortly thereafter. But I guess that brings up a third way this place is like Austin: There are 30 other tacos to choose from. I’ll cover all five Tacodelis in this series. Check out the Spyglass report here.
 
Taco A: Chile relleno
Tacodeli supplements its taco menu with regular daily specials. Wednesday is the day for pork belly, cochinita pibil and this — a taco that starts with a whole roasted mild poblano pepper laid flat with ribs and seeds removed. It’s layered with tangy, shredded cochinita pibil and crisp, sour pink onions and a shower of dry, crumbled queso fresco. In its roasted pepper simplicity, it’s the laidback hippie cousin of the battered, fried relleno. ($3.95 + 15 cents for double corn tortillas)
 
 
Taco B: Pollo Fantastico
The best thing about this chicken taco? It tastes like chicken. A real off-the-bone balance of light and dark meat. A green chile sauce as thick as gravy and a shower of green onions add their grace notes without smothering their host. ($3.95)
 
Taco C: Al pastor
This is less of the shawarma-style pastor and more of a pork shoulder stew in an oily red adobo sauce, with only onions and cilantro to suggest its kinship to the street version. Good for what it is, but not for what I wanted it to be. ($3.95 + 15 cents for double corn tortillas)
 
 
 Self-medication: The Westlake Tacodeli is packed at lunch, making the oak-shaded deck more than just a nice amenity. But then again — oak. The same oak that dusts the picnic tables yellow this time of year. You need the daytime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffy head, fever so you can rest medicine: Sweet watermelon agua fresca ($2.50) and chicken tortilla soup with light broth and dark chicken, with crisp jalapeño bits and half-dunked tortilla chips, with avocado and tomato. Nyquil in a bowl. ($3.95)
 Tortillas: Commercial-grade white corn and flour, plus a wheat tortilla as tough as a woven basket. Recurring tip: Pay the extra 15 cents to double the corn tortillas, even though Tacodeli should be doing that anyway.
 Salsa: Of Tacodeli’s four salsas, the mean green Doña is always the right choice. But even in its green chile gravy, the Pollo Fantastico benefits from a garlic-breath serrano roja and a sweet-hot blend of habanero and carrot.
 Waiting outside the lines: For a counter service operation, the staff at this Tacodeli roams the tables like a congenial, watchful waitstaff.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
More Tacodeli in this series
► Crestview   Gracy Farms  ► Spyglass