I've been eyeing El Pollo Regio for a while now. So, when I heard that the one on Spring Valley recently got a score of 73 (that's four points above failing, I'm told) from the health inspector, I got a little sad. Because it's totally cool if you go into a sketchy place and are blissfully ignorant about how much butt bacteria is ending up in your tacos, but if you basically get a personal warning from the health department, then you gotta steer clear of that particular establishment for at least a month. But then the Taco Angels came down and made everything OK by opening up a brand new El Pollo Regio at LBJ and Abrams! Brand new means the kitchen must be clean! It's new!
I open their front door and am immediately assaulted by a meat waft. Yes, they have tacos al carbon. Yes, they have tacos al pastor. Yes, they have mole (both face kind and authentic Mexican dish kind). And the whole menu appears to be combo-ed, making ordering super easy. I went with the five-taco combo. (Yes, that's five tacos. No, you won't be needing a to-go box.) And, yeah, I know I ordered barbacoa from a place that's basically called "We Make Awesome Grilled Marinated Chicken," but I wanted frigging barbacoa. Times five.
Number of people chugging Mexican Cokes: 3 Number of Hail Marys I said hoping my water would put out the flames: 450
El Pollo Regio 3030 LBJ Freeway, No. 1440 (north side of LBJ at Abrams Road)
While I was waiting for my tacos, I stopped by the salsa bar. (This bar actually has a sign on it that said something like, "Eat-In Only," which can only mean that someone tried to bring their GladWare in there and steal a bucket-load of these hot-as-August-balls salsas. And after trying some of the bar's offerings, I totally understand why. I tip my sombrero to you, Brave Amigo.) One bite of my tacos, which came complete with cilantro and onions and a lime wedge, and my taste buds were losing their collective shit. I immediately fell in love with the jalapeño crema salsa from the salsa bar. It's green. It's creamy. It's hot. And if you put it on your barbacoa tacos, angels make out with each other and a mariachi band appears to serenade you with Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)."
I was pleased. Here's hoping that jalapeño crema stuff wasn't laced with ass. Worth it, though. So totally worth it.