500 Tacos: Torchy’s Tacos (Mueller)

An Austin taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Torchy’s Tacos (Mueller)
1801 E. 51st St., Austin (map), 512-322-2411, www.torchystacos.com/location/mueller
Hours: 7am-10pm Mon-Thu, 7am-11pm Fri, 8am-11pm Sat, 8am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.12.15
Last month, 500 Tacos explored the original Torchy’s trailer. This month, it’s the shiniest, newiest Torchy’s. This glass and steel taco tabernacle opened at the Mueller development in October. There’s another one in the works for the old Fran’s Hamburgers spot on South Congress. This series will cover all the Torchy’s shops in Greater Austin. Even the shiniest ... est.
Secret Menu: The Matador (top)
Every cult has its secrets; Torchy’s has a whole menu of them. Seven tacos you won’t see on the main menu board. Breaking those seven seals requires finesse, spycraft, and also asking if you could just please order something from the “Sacred Menu.” They’ll just up and show it to you. I’ll profile all seven Secret Menu tacos in this series, starting with the Matador. Straight from the Sacred scroll: “Chopped brisket, grilled jalapeños, pickled onions, jack cheese, avocado, sour cream and cilantro. Served with tomatillo on a crisp corn tortilla inside a flour tortilla.” Numerologists would say those last seven words are the most important. They’d be right. They’d offer seven more words: Crunchy, chewy, smoky, beefy, tangy, creamy, spicy. Because three times seven is 21, and that’s blackjack. And the Jack of Clubs is yet another secret Torchy’s taco. Mind. Blown. ($4.75)
Taco of the Month/February: The Scallywag (above left)
The Scallywag was the Best Thing I ate at ACL 2014, and for all the right reasons: The coconut crunch of shrimp, the hurts-so-good sweet heat of habanero peach jam, the interplay of bacon and green chiles, the puckering crunch of pickled onions. The Austin City Limits Festival doesn’t come back until October, but February is festival month for Torchbearers. ($5.50)
No secrets, no limits: Migas (above right)
Eggs, tortilla strips, pico and cheese. You don’t have to reinvent the automobile to make a respectable car, but Torchy’s paints its own pinstripes by adding green chiles and a fresh slice of avocado. For price, flair and fill-up, this is Torchy’s best value. ($2.75)
 Tortillas: Storebought, middle-grade flour and corn tortillas will always be Torchy’s weak spot. But by laying a fresh-fried crunchy corn tortilla on top of a stretchy flour tortilla, the Matador makes both of them stronger.
 Featured salsa: The Matador is supposed to make the bull see red. Give the mild Matador the backbone to do that with Diablo. Its bright sangre de toro tomato and creamy habanero bite combine to strike like bullfighting sabers with velcro blades.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
More Torchy’s in this series
► Round Rock  ► South First  ► Spicewood