Tacos in the Northeastern United States almost never cease to be a let-down. Here I describe three sets of tacos I have encountered in the past few month and compare them to show how I feel about this lamentably unfilled niche in Boston.
(*) El Sabor (carne asada, tinga, chorizo and pescado tacos) at La Verdad on Lansdowne St
Uh. Typical Northeast tacos. The tortillas were dry and dead and reminded me more of old pita bread. The filling steak was chewy and undercooked with very boring seasoning, the tinga was seasoned incorrectly and reminded me more of an Eastern European stewed beef dish than a spicy Mexican one (no chiles…), the chorizo was plain and flavorless and the fish taco had a fried, rigor-mortis fish-stick instead of a fresh filet. 1 star.
(***) Tacos at Dorado Tacos and Cemitas in Brookline
Best tacos in town in my opinion but still far from authenticity. The tortillas were deliciously fresh, with a slightly chewy but crisp bite to them. The swordfish was fresh with a chary grill flavor and garnished perfectly with cabbage, tomatillo and avocado salsa. The chorizo was sweet with a slightly nutmeg-y, clove-y flavor that brought out the flavor of the ground meat. The sirloin steak was tender and delicious with a delicious grilled pepper and tomato salsa. Although the ingredients were great and harmonized well, these tacos were still missing that “uhmph,” that maternal Mexican hand pressing them, filling them with love.
Nothing beats actual Mexican tacos, fresh flour tortillas, filled with perfectly spiced, home-made scoops of shredded chicken or strips of beef, pressed by gentle, caring hands onto a burning hot cast-iron surface.