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El Pueblo

525 E. Jefferson Blvd.
TX, TX 75203
214-946-3070
Critics' Pick

Details

  • 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Free Parking
El Pueblo is a cheery, inviting cash-only spot on the eastern end of Jefferson Boulevard, surrounded by long-distance bus terminals. El Pueblo’s sombrero-studded interior and lotería card-covered ceiling project an optimism that wins visitors over immediately. Its whimsical attention to detail — the wallpaper between the windows is old menus — only makes the place feel more homelike. But we’re here for carnitas. This shredded pork specialty is slowly braised for hours in oil or (better) lard, then fried for texture. It’s famed for its rich flavor and seams of fat, but inferior Tex-Mex restaurants can turn out dry carnitas, or batches so greasy and fat-laden that they become downright stomach-turning after a few bites. The carnitas plate at El Pueblo is one of the best in town. It comes with rice, refried beans, lettuce, an avocado slice and choice of corn or flour tortillas, but the pork is, by itself, dazzling. These carnitas aren’t greasy, and they don’t hit the stomach like an anvil; there’s a nice balance of fat morsels and bits that have been crisply seared. This is juicy, hugely flavorful meat that could face down the pulled pork at any Dallas barbecue house, but it is also a carnival of textures. As good as that dish is, there are other reasons to visit El Pueblo, and many of them. The restaurant’s barbacoa, richly tender and bright red from its spiced marinade, stars in good tacos and a generously stuffed quesadilla. The taco plate ($6.99) acts as a sampler, since it comes with four to an order. Try the good-quality chorizo or, even better, the lengua, which arrives as tender as filet mignon. El Pueblo’s lengua might be even better than its carnitas. Not one of the meats is the least bit greasy.

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