First Look

First Look: Public Taco Serves All Types

Pollo al forno
Pollo al forno Alex Gonzalez
click to enlarge The pollo al forno taco - ALEX GONZALEZ
The pollo al forno taco
Alex Gonzalez
There's a new spot for tacos in North Dallas. At Public Taco, guests can order from a diverse menu inspired by cuisines from around the world.

Public Taco, located at Preston Road and Royal Lane, is the brainchild of Joon Choe, who founded FreshFin Poke on Lower Greenville. After that location closed, Choe opened a food stall version of the restaurant at Legacy Hall in 2017. It was open only for two years, as he decided he wanted full control.

Today, Choe considers Public Taco his first official restaurant.

“The food is different,” Choe says. “The intentions are different, and the mindset is different. We are catering to the general public and creating something everyone can enjoy.”

click to enlarge Public Taco in North Dallas - ALEX GONZALEZ
Public Taco in North Dallas
Alex Gonzalez
Cocktails such as the Aztec Ashes are ominous in appearance, yet sweet and delightful in taste ($15). This dark mix of Casamigos Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, maguey charcoal-infused agave nectar and lime is worth a try on your first visit to Public Taco.

There are lighter options, too, such as the Frozé a la Public: a sweet mix of rosé wine, hibiscus-infused Zephyr gin, aperol and lime ($11). It comes garnished with a pretty pink hibiscus salt.

Tortillas are made in-house every morning, and they're griddled to just the right thickness to support a good amount of filling for each taco.

click to enlarge The takorea taco was created to pay tribute to Choe's Korean heritage. - ALEX GONZALEZ
The takorea taco was created to pay tribute to Choe's Korean heritage.
Alex Gonzalez
The pollo al forno taco has a flour tortilla filled with fire-roasted chicken, crispy, double-fried russet potatoes, pickled red onion and a poblano aioli. It's not too heavy, not too spicy, just something simple.

On the more ambitious side is the takorea ($5.50). A corn tortilla is filled with pan-seared rib-eye, onion, cilantro, lettuce, kimchi and Sriracha aioli. Choe crafted this taco to pay tribute to his Korean heritage, and it's something fans of FreshFin would love.

click to enlarge The barbacoa birria tacos with a three-cheese blend and side of consommé - ALEX GONZALEZ
The barbacoa birria tacos with a three-cheese blend and side of consommé
Alex Gonzalez
For the birria fans, Public Taco offers a plate of two barbacoa birria tacos with a three-cheese blend and a side of consommé for dipping ($11). These tacos are filling and flavorful, but they manage to not feel heavy.

But perhaps one of the best tacos at Public Taco is one that doesn’t even have meat. The corn truffle is a corn tortilla filled with huitlacoche fritter, pico, corn, truffle aioli and crispy onions ($4.50). This vegetarian taco, which can be made vegan if ordered without aioli, contains a combination of sweet, spicy ingredients that could make going meatless that much easier.

click to enlarge The Aztec ashes cocktail - ALEX GONZALEZ
The Aztec ashes cocktail
Alex Gonzalez
Public Taco is a cashless store, and while the inside may be small and designed with minimalistic intent, the food is designed to speak for itself.

“I want to be able to see all different walks of life,” Choe says. “If I’m able to serve authentic tacos, and if I’m able to serve craft tacos, then I can serve people of all types of diverse backgrounds.”

Public Taco, 5959 Royal Lane, Suite 123 (North Dallas). Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez