The taco explosion of Dallas continues with the expansion of several new taco chains to Dallas. This taco “joint” rules our household and on a recent visit with friends, that was quickly reinforced.
Urban Taco’s name is quite àpropos given the competitive crop of new taco places. The suggestion that their tacos aren’t the usual and are slightly upscale, trendy, or urban and casual fits. However Urban Taco is not exactly new. Opened at Mockingbird Station in 2007, the upscale taco quickly became their calling card. Urban’s ideal is simple; sophisticated but simple. UT prepares their tacos fresh to order. They refrain from dolling out meats from hotel pans at rapid rates. And their eclectic salsas that top the quaint taco are the perfect pairing to the carefully prepared proteins.
Sit down and grab a margarita. You will need one to pair with your chips and salsa. UT offers a complete line of specialty cocktails and margaritas to choose from. Margarita lovers will enjoy UT as they offer several swirls to twist the common margarita into new heights. They also serve fresh beers and frozen chelada style beers that are tasty. Now that you have your drink, you must pick your salsas.
With UT, again chips and salsa aren’t typical. Chips and salsa aren’t complementary like your typical Tex-Mex joints, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For $3, you get endless chip strips and three freshly prepared salsas to choose from. The great thing about their salsa choices is that you can try any three of ten salsas and see if they temp the taste buds. Why is it so great? Well your choices are the same that top UT’s tacos. Unsure of a particular taco because of the salsa? Try it as one of your starter salsas and see if you agree. Our choices were a terrific mix of savory, spicy, and sweet. The Avocado Crema is a limey avocado purée that coats the chips with a slightly sweet finish. The Roasted Peanut Habanero salsa punches your face with heat and finishes with a rich meaty quality. We rounded our trio with the Roasted Corn & Black Bean salsa. The slightly charred sweet corn satisfies with the rich black beans that accompany it.
The taco choices are plenty at Urban Taco. Peruse the menu and see the typical taco choices. For $9.59 at dinner, you can choose three tacos and two sides to temp the palette. Choices include Arrachera Steak al Carbon, Dos Equis Amber Barbacoa, Al Pastor, and Carnitas D.F. My favorites include the Dos Equis Amber Barbacoa that is slow roasted in Dos Equis beer and topped with black bean and roasted corn pico with pickled red onion. The bold Al Pastor features a chile rubbed pork topped with cilantro and pico de pina which is a fresh pico salsa with pineapple. My must have is the Carnitas D.F. which is an orange roasted pork with a red salsa with onion and cilantro. My fellow diners enjoyed the other tacos such as the Shrimp Al Pastor, the Roast Corn and Lime Crema, and grilled Ahi Tuna.
With great margaritas, salsas, and tacos, the sides are just throwaway right? Not at all. The sides provide a great compliment to your taco plate. Six choices from beans to rice to slaw are all wonderful. On frequent visits to Urban Taco I will change my taco choices, but I never venture to the other sides. My favorites include the blanco beans that are refried (although I am not sure they are refried). They are light and airy unlike classic refried beans. The smooth beans go great on left over chips too and mix in great with the Poblano Green Rice. The rice has a fresh lime and pepper flavor to it that too is light yet satisfying. Caution about the rice, it is at times gummy or pasty. However, on most of my visits the rice is spot on and you will find that the choice is certainly a good one.
Urban Taco escapes the typical assembly line taco spot and shows that something so simple can have a level of sophistication that changes the way you look at the average taco. Check out Urban Taco at Mockingbird station or their new location in Uptown off McKinney. I know you’re skeptical of pineapple on a taco, but I promise you will like it.
F – 3
V – 3
R – 3.5