500 Tacos: ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food


A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food
5770 N. MoPac Expressway (map), 512-467-9295, www.zuzuaustin.com
Hours: 8am-9pm Sun-Thu, 8am-10pm Fri-Sat; breakfast 8-11:30am Mon-Fri, 8am-2pm Sat-Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 02.14.15
ZuZu has two things going for it: thick, handmade corn tortillas and a well-stocked salsa bar. But when the little things are the best things, the big things are in trouble. This is the last of the local ZuZus, and that explains a lot.
The taco: Chorizo and egg
Breakfast tacos are always the control in a wider taco experiment, the ones almost anybody can get at least partly right. And this one gets it partly right, a dense handful with eggs in that state between fried and scrambled, home-fried potatoes and gooey cheese. The chorizo leaks grease through the foil, and its salty ooze would be a deal-breaker by itself. But if this taco were a bland pop boy band, the chorizo is the bad boy who makes at least one song worth listening to. I almost didn’t get to hear that song, thanks to a smirky, indifferent cashier who had to go ask the kitchen if we were still in the breakfast-serving time zone on a Saturday. Hint: That’s what the clock’s for. ($2.75)
 Zu-Zeww: I included ZuZu’s grilled mahi-mahi in my 30 Tacos, 30 Days roundup for the Statesman in 2010, and what I mostly said was “aggressively fishy.” Still true, with fish as hard and tough as pork ($3.50). A grilled steak taco was more like fatty roast beef in slick pan drippings ($2.95).
 Tortillas: Good tortillas in service to bad tacos. ZuZu makes its own corn tortillas, and they’re warm and dense, with pronounced maiz flavor. Flour tortillas are storebought.
 Salsa: Along with bins of fresh chopped jalapeños and tomatoes, the salsa bar at ZuZu excels with a tangy tomatillo-cilantro green salsa and an oily chile de arbol red with dry heat and crunchy onions.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)