Tuesday, December 18

AVOID: Nuevo Leon Taco Express

Nuevo Leon Taco Express is a small, satellite restaurant of the main 'Nuevo Leon' restaurant. Located at the corner of 15th and San Jacinto, and surrounded by a sea of parking garages and bland, soul-sucking State office buildings, it is a welcome visual respite. The owners did a serviceable, if minimal, conversion of a '50s-era gas station. The outside is painted a welcoming bright yellow, while inside, it is minimally decorated, save for a counter where you order your food, and a smattering of mismatched tables evenly spaced along the long, curving back wall. You get the feeling this might be one of those 'funky' hole-in-the-walls with great food. You would be wrong.

This was not my first visit to this location. While it has been open for several years, it only recently began serving lunch. Before that, it was a breakfast-taco-only joint. The breakfast tacos were premade and were served out of a cooler. They were some of the worst I've ever had and I had not been back since.

So, it was with extremely low expectations that I went to lunch with Cornbiter D. Our meal started off well: their chips and salsa were pretty good! The salsa was a thin, smooth red sauce that was still thick enough to stick to the just-the-right-thickness chips. We were pleasantly surprised.

Next, Cornbiter D and I tried out the crispy beef taco plate and the beef fajita taco plate. Both of them came with refried beans and rice. The crispy beef tacos were 'ok', although I've certainly had better. The beef wasn't too greasy but it also had no spicing to it. It was bland ground beef topped with shredded lettuce and yellow cheese. In other words, nothing worth noting. The refried beans were passable, although a bit on the thin side. I don't remember the rice at all.

Cornbiter D fared much worse than I. The beef fajita tacos were simply not edible. The beef was sinewy and had an unpleasant flavor which was not helped by the store-bought tortillas. It's a good thing their salsa was tasty, because the only way to down one of the beef fajita tacos was to drown them in it. It was that bad. We couldn't actually finish a whole one. Neither of us is that masochistic.

The only reason I'm giving Nuevo Leon Taco Express 1 full star is because the counter guy was so friendly and helpful. He chatted us up and we even grabbed us a refill on drinks. It was a nice touch, and if the food was decent, I would come back just to grab some food and a bit of conversation. But it wasn't and I won't (and you shouldn't either.)

Nuevo Leon Taco Express - 1 star - The Commish
1500 San Jacinto Street
Austin, TX 78701


Mommy said...

Wow, Nuevo Leon is BAD in Dallas too, I had no idea there were bad Nuevo Leons rampant across Texas. Sorry to hear about your experience, I am very familiar with it. In my case, I think I gave them a second chance, possibly a third before I gave up, y'all are smarter than me.

Reverend Thundernutt said...

I have always been very pleased with the food @ the 15th street express location. I would hope that the bad fajita meat was a one-time mistake/oversight, everything else about this location is great.

I agree the counter help is very friendly. Their bean and cheese breakfast tacos are just so friggin good. Good enough, I would hope, to make up for their beef fajitas.