In Oak Cliff, the Original and Humble El Padrino Lives on

Taking a bite from a Cuban sandwich at ¡C. Señor!, it's easy to understand why the chatter about El Padrino had faded into the background. The crunch of pickles and the bite of mustard waking up fatty roasted pork and cheese requires one's full attention. And then there are those perfectly crisp yucca fries with spicy ketchup, and that ropa vieja with onions and Swiss cheese... Wait a minute, what was the name of that other restaurant?

El Padrino No. 2 served up tacos and tortas in this Bishop Arts locale for years before they were displaced, eventually by ¡C. Señor!, a new Cuban-inspired spot from the owners of Hattie's. But it wasn't El only Padrino.

No. 2 headed to Pleasant Grove, which is great for southeast Dallasites, but not to hot for taco fans in the Bishop Arts. But No. 1, the original, remains not that far away -- just a few blocks to the south on Jefferson Boulevard.

If you're not familiar with either Padrino, you should take this opportunity to get acquainted with the original -- especially should you find yourself on the way to a show at the Texas Theater and in need of a quick, cheap meal. (They're almost across the street from each other.) And while the food at El Padrino likely won't blow your doors off, it's actually decent and the garnishes are fresh . Of the tacos I tried, the barbacoa was a standout, and the meat was just as good in a modestly sized burrito.

The important thing to remember, though, is cost. If you can convince a date to join you here they're a keeper, and you'll likely both get out the door for less that 20 bucks. Just make sure there is a cool, crisp Jackson in your wallet. El Padrino is cash only.

El Padrino No. 1, 408 W Jefferson Blvd, (214) 943-3993, elpadrinomexicangrill.com

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