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At Taco Borracho, One Out of Three Ain't Bad

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The original idea behind this weekly feature was for me to visit taquerías and restaurants vending tacos near DART light rail stops. I moved from New York where a car is little more than a money-muncher, between insurance and alternate-side parking. I'm a fan of public transportation, and, believe it or not, Dallas' public transportation system is excellent. If only it ran with greater frequency. As readers of Taco Trail know, I've ventured to far train stations and bus stops, sometimes relying on a good pair of walking shoes for a taco.

Taco Borracho in the Mosaic Lofts building is a hop, skip and a jump from the Akard Street station. To get more Taco Trail than that, you'd have to be selling tacos on a DART train. Visible from passing trains, the small taquería-luncheonette comes off as comical and poorly thought out, thanks to the clip-art-style, anthropomorphized taco in the window. But the long lines during lunch are nothing to laugh at -- unless you're the owners laughing all the way to the bank. Fully expecting a lengthy wait when I stopped in for some tacos, I was surprised that I was able to amble in and order. The owner, Chuck Love, was surprised as well. After opening in July 2010, there has been nothing but lines.

"It's been going great until today," he told me. "There should be a line out the door right now. It's lunchtime!" We forgot to take into account it was a federal holiday. Nevertheless, I can see why it's popular with the Downtown worker crowds: The food is portable, light (for the most part), and probably a bargain compared with other mealtime options. The two-tacos platter with rice and beans is only $6.99.

The taco to double up on in that combo is the brisket. It had a powerful mesquite-smoke flavor that made the inclusion of limp chopped lettuce and orange cheese shameful. The meat needed nothing. However, as Love said, "We've tried traditional garnishes, but people really go for the lettuce and cheese." Like any good businessman, Love is going to give his customers what they want. Thankfully, the unfortunate garnishes can be left out.

No manner of culinary wizardry can raise tilapia to the level of something with flavor. It can have a solid flake and char made iridescent from being fresh out of the pan, making it pleasing to the eye, but tilapia will never taste of anything. The same goes for Taco Borracho's Baja fish taco, composed of pan-seared tilapia topped with guacamole and pico de gallo. Simple enough to strike my curiosity. Simple enough that I should have known better, really.

The Tex-Mex classic spicy ground beef (picadillo) taco was also a classic example of how much the picadillo is an atrocity in the realm of tacos. From Old El Paso and Fuel City to Tex-Mex houses the world over, a good ground beef taco is as elusive as World Series rings for a certain hometown team.

Nevertheless, the prime brisket taco made the stop worthwhile. And if you go, remember to request that they "hold the lettuce and cheese."

Taco Borracho 300 N. Akard St. 469-547-2047

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