Tranquil Tex-Mex

Excellent service and a gorgeous patio more than make up for Taco Diner’s shortcomings.
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Posted June 11, 2014 by LAURIE JAMES in Eats
There are dozens of taco items at Taco Diner, including the citrus- marinated pork tacos al pastor — with grilled pineapple. Brian HutsonThere are dozens of taco items at Taco Diner, including the citrus- marinated pork tacos al pastor — with grilled pineapple. Brian Hutson

Taco Diner’s foray into Fort Worth is pretty great. The regional chain with locations in Dallas and Southlake has put down stakes in Sundance Square, specifically on the edge of Sundance Square Plaza. The jetted fountains alone just about demand that you sit on the flower-lined covered patio to enjoy them –– while you’re enjoying Taco Diner’s creative, mild Tex-Mex.

Unfortunately, the first starter, the chile con queso, was not great, just some easy-melt cheese product that my guests and I gussied up with some tasty brisket. (Ground beef is another option.) Heat aficionados might be better served by the queso blanco, described on the menu as having “a kick.”

The accompanying complimentary green salsa –– tomatillo, silky avocado, and a little spice –– was fantastic. The complimentary red was more marinara than salsa, though.

The meal improved dramatically with the arrival of the chile posole. Taco Diner’s version of the Mexican comfort soup was loaded with chunks of succulent chicken, fluffy hominy, and radish bits in a zesty tomatillo-poblano broth.

Most of the taco plates on the extensive menu are $5 for two and $10 for four and come with rice and beans. Some of the plates were winners. But not all.

On the plus side were the Felipe cheesesteak tacos: scrumptious fajita beef with grilled poblanos and onions, everything topped by jack cheese and sour cream. The peppers were definitely on the mild side, but all of the flavors blended beautifully.

Though one of the few items over $10 on the menu, the tacos Cancun were underwhelming. They advertised shrimp but delivered only tiny, rubbery ones, and other than fresh avocado, the tacos didn’t have much else to them.

The black beans accompanying both plates were absolutely delicious, and the flavorful rice was a step up from the reddish, succotash-laden scoops at some other restaurants.

Taco Diner also offers salads, burgers, and specials. On the recommendation of our friendly and efficient server, we tried the brisket tamales — well, Taco Diner’s version of tamales. The stuffing and masa arrive on the same plate but are separated. The meat had been cooked perfectly with an earthy, not-flaming-hot red sauce, and the masa was rich. And there was a lot of masa left over to soak up more of that amazing green salsa.

Unlike Taco Diner’s inspiration, the humble taqueria, the place is a feast for the eyes, with a lovely blue and cream color scheme, and service that rivaled that of some of Fort Worth’s top white-tablecloth eateries. But as solid as some of the fare was, Taco Diner’s chief selling point is that gorgeous patio.

 

Taco Diner

156 W 4th St, FW. 817-566-0357. 11am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Wed, 11am-12am Thu-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

Chile con queso ………………………. $4

Green chicken chile posole ……….. $4

Felipe cheesesteak tacos …………. $5/two

Tacos Cancun …………………………. $13

Brisket tamale ………………………….. $11

 


2 Comments


  1.  
    megs

    Tried Taco Diner for the first (and last!) time after reading this. We ordered the queso blanco w/ meat… received the yellow Velveeta-inspired goop with no meat instead. I ordered the pork al pastor tacos… received the pulled pork tacos smothered in disgusting grocery store bbq sauce instead. *gag* Nothing was even warm, let alone hot. The tortillas for the tacos were soggy, broken in half & wadded up under the dried out meat and the rice looked & tasted like it may well have been left over from your visit the month before. I had such high hopes going in, but it seemed like couldn’t even be bothered to attempt mediocrity. My recommendation? Skip this place & their lame poser tacos and hit up one of FW’s real taquerias or taco trucks.




  2.  
    Laurie James

    Meg-

    Well-said, and I agree with you about the queso. Didn’t try the pastor tacos. One question: did you tell the manager? The lack of attention to detail (and the comment about the rice was really funny – sad, but funny) is not what I experienced. If it was that bad, someone would have been willing to make it right.





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