Miguel Mendoza, the titular Maestro in the newest taco shop to orbit Crockett Row, hails from Monterrey, Mexico. A butcher by training, Mendoza reportedly brings beloved family recipes to the new taco joint that sits next to Ampersand Café, whose owner, Toan Luong, also has a hand in the taqueria. I’m a sucker for family recipes and stories about Grandma’s kitchen in Mexico, and any restaurateur who opens when they can’t do more than 75% business (now 50%) inside the restaurant deserves at least one visit.
The tacos were reasonably priced and garnished with a fair amount of produce. In addition to the cilantro and minced onion, Maestro’s corn tacos were adorned with seared jalapeno, grilled onion, a lime wedge, and dainty radish slices. The barbacoa filling was lusciously rich, well-seasoned, and perfect with just a bit of lime. The smooth, soft beef benefitted from the textural crunch of the radish and onion. The grilled pollo version was a bit dry and needed the addition of the smoky red salsa. Tacos come with both the tasty red and an earthy green salsa that packed a pungent kick.
I’ll admit to doing a happy dance when I saw the gorditas on the menu –– the chubby little folds of corn dough stuffed with bits of whatnot always make me giddy. It was hard to mess up Maestro’s barbacoa, but there was either too little meat, tomato, shredded lettuce, and cotija cheese or too much doughy masa that didn’t have enough of its own flavor. The restaurant gets props for offering the masa orbs, and perhaps they’d taste better with another choice of filling.
The overstuffed rice-meat-veggie burrito was delicious and hearty. The steak fajita meat looked a little dry but was actually flavorful and tasty –– more salty-spicy than spicy-spicy. The rice and beans packed the carb-loaded entree, and the addition of add-your-own sour cream and a decent-sized scoop of guacamole made for an excellent plate. The mild guac was enhanced with a lot of cilantro and even more lime.
As an afterthought, I grabbed a side of beans and cheese, which came with chips. The silky refried beans with a touch of shredded cheddar were deliciously old-school and were a wonderful addition to the chicken taco and the gordita.
In his spate of pre-opening interviews, Maestro Mendoza indicated that everything, including the tortillas, were to be house-made. The corn tortillas and chips were stunningly average and certainly didn’t pack the flavor punch of, say, Meso Maya’s or the Old Mexican Inn’s masa-laden kitchen-created specialties. It’s possible that the flour burrito was house-made as pictures of a comal feature prominently on the restaurant’s social media.
I’d go back to Maestro for a breakfast taco –– the selections include combinations of traditional chorizo, bacon, egg, and the bean and cheese option that would make good use of the tasty frijoles. On weekends, the menu includes menudo and posole. Maestro’s mostly covered outdoor patio was a pleasant place to sit, although you’re not watching anything other than your food.
Like any business that hovers near but not exactly in Crockett Row, parking is tight. On a crowded evening, parking at Farrington field and taking a short, brisk walk might be best. Also, COVID-19 has affected the restaurant’s hours. The information available on Maestro’s website doesn’t match the hours posted on table toppers at the restaurant, but that information matches what’s on their social media, so you might check before rolling up and expecting a gordita at 2:45 a.m. Regardless, a truly late-night taco option on this side of town seems almost like a public service.
Maestro Tacos, 3011 Bledsoe St, FW. 682-250-6141. 8am-10pm Sun-Wed, 8am-3am Thu-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Chicken or barbacoa taco $2.25 each
Beans and cheese $3