Sometimes, all a person needs is a simple fix of decent fare to keep him or her going-- nourishing fare that satisfies with little found fault. Service with a smile adds further enjoyment. That's what I found at Taquería La Paloma in the Lakeside Village shopping center and apartment complex. The restaurant, housed in a stand-alone brick job, is part of a local chain with stores as far afield as McKinney, according to the taquería's website. That should be taken with a grain of salt. The Dallas store listed on the site's location page is at the corner of Central Central near Meadow Road. However, it's no longer at that location. La Paloma moved down the street to Walnut Hill Lane and Central Expressway, and that's where I found a tiny and clean Mexican and Tex-Mex eatery.
On offer at the new La Paloma is an extensive menu, beginning early with breakfast burritos and sandwiches to gargantuan servings of Tribilin, pastor and chorizo heaped over a bed of tortillas, and, of course, the tacos. It attracts Mexican workers and families, who use the high chairs stored in the bathrooms, Anglo residents of the development's housing, as well as those driving along Central Expressway and in need of agreeable drive-thru grub.
It really is difficult to speak ill about La Paloma, but that doesn't mean some items don't fall short in comparison with the all-round good tacos served there. The two beef options ordered are such examples. The bistek was chewy, too chewy, as vigorous gnashing was the only way to get it down the gullet. Thankfully, it didn't suffer from lack of seasoning. The same is true of the barbacoa, except it was dry.
The remaining tacos I sampled were fine foods enjoyed without regret. The superb chicken tinga taco sparked tiny fires along the walls of my mouth. The strings of chicken, stewed until shredded, were tender and had a spice made all the more pleasant with the juxtaposition of the sweet salsa verde. The carnitas excited with juicy chunks of pork sharing space with crispy crackling, all nestled in a single-ply soft white corn tortilla. The lengua was consistently delicious, flecked with squares of red chiles. The pastor might not have been as spicy as described on the menu, but a little salsa roja did the trick. Curiously -- though not the first time I've come across this -- the tacos were served with twin wedges of lemon in place of the expected lime. They neither improved nor detracted from the flavor of the fillings.
To be sure, La Paloma is a plummy joint worthy of a shot or two. As a matter of fact, the next time I'm in a pinch for a commendable taco, the Dallas store is where I'll go.
Taquería La Paloma 9661 N. Central Expressway 214-378-8220
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