Here’s the scene. You’re at a festival. A burger festival, with 14 chuck slingin’ vendors, in an extremely white part of Chicago. You build up a giant hunger from fighting through all the stroller moms, slamming room temperature watered down beer, and babysitting your girlfriend’s brother (who’s 26 and began the day by shotgunning Straw-ber-ritas). What do you do?
You leave the festival and go to the nearest taco joint! Duh.
We decided on Tony’s Burrito Mex, mostly because it’s only about 25 steps outside of the festival, but also because it used to be a late night go-to of mine back in the day. I wanted to know if I liked it because it was bar-closing time and I “needed” a late night, convenient, after party snack. Or, if it’s actually good.
The first thing I remembered when we walked in, was how it feels like a diner. The inside is all painted white and there are some bar stools up at the counter. You order at the counter and wait for for yours to be called. Listen closely, these m’f’ers talk super hypo fast. There are no servers, no chips, just time. And some gumball/sticker/candy dispensers.
I ordered three tacos. The carne asada, the al pastor and the chorizo.
I must admit, I liked all three a lot, and didn’t have very high expectations going in. Apparently, my liquor-pickled palate is still quite a reliable one….
I wish they put onions and cilantro on their tacos, along with a little lime, but I’ll live. Instead they put lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese (a white cheese, to match the walls, the toppings and the neighborhood, I think).
The asada is a good taco. There’s nothing extraordinary about it, but it has nice flavor and texture. The tortillas are soft (and would you believe it? white!), allowing you to taste the meat properly.
The al pastor is also a very good taco. Again, they don’t do anything crazy, and I don’t think they have spit, but they do it right. The pork has a nice adobo marinade that is sweet and spicy and the meat is perfectly juicy (I try to steer clear of the word moist on this blog). I didn’t taste any pineapple or onions, which most al pastor tacos come with, but I was still very pleased.
The star, here, though, is the chorizo taco. The chorizo is made in house and is spicy. Not white boy spicy. Spicy. You can see the flecks of chile in the sausage. It has a nice amount of paprika and is a little sweet. ¡Me encanta!
There are a few things I’d change about this place, and the tacos. But, overall I think it, and they, are very good and are worth
dodging baby stroller torpedoes in order to get.
Until we meet again:
- Location: 1957 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL (Roscoe Village)
- Tourists: Josh, Julia, Lisa, Bingo, Thomas, Johnny, Adam
- Tacos sampled: carne asada, al pastor, chorizo (also have pollo, picadillo, lengua, chile relleno and vegetarian)
- Toppings: lettuce, tomato, hot sauce, sour cream and cheese
- Salsa: salsa roja and salsa verde
- Extras: nada
- Tortillas: corn
- Atmosphere: diner, strollers, quiet, white walls, whiter neighborhood
- Price: $1.85-$2.99/taco
- OVERALL RATING: 8.0