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Looking for birria? Look no further than Los Tacos Way. PHOTO BY LAURIE JAMES

You can hear the conjunto music from the parking lot. Los Tacos Way is the new kid on Cooper Street, and the management is announcing their presence with authority, apparently. Fair warning: The nine-table dining area is pocket-sized, and at the time I visited on a Saturday at lunch, the place was staffed by only a couple of ladies. Because everything is made to order, you’ll need to allow time or plan ahead better than I did. If you know nothing about birria, it won’t matter. There’s a plethora of Tex-Mex and real Mex options from which to choose.

It’s loud and lighthearted at this tiny taco spot in Arlington.
PHOTO BY LAURIE JAMES

Los Tacos Way offers plates of three, four, or five quesatacos (with well-done cheese between corn tortillas to better stand up to the dipping) along with a birria quesadilla plate and something called birria fries. All the plates come with savory rice that was better than average and some deliciously lardy-tasting refried beans. The accompanying salad of raw cucumber, onion and cilantro, and a blistered jalapeno pepper added a nice, fresh bite to the cheesy goodness. And there are no words to do the beefy, spicy consommé justice. Strip the broth of the onion and cilantro, and the flavor was still exceptionally deep and rich. There was a bit of rice in the bottom of the Styrofoam container, and we scooped out every bite because the carb-loaded grains were so enjoyable with the au jus.

The well-toasted, gooey quesadilla was a little more difficult to eat than a birria taco, but quartering it helped. The consommé livened up just about everything else, and when all the food was gone, I might have saved the remains and made gravy the next day.

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Order your tacos a la carte or grab three with your choice of protein plus rice and beans for under $10. The corn tortillas come double-wrapped to hold in the goodies, and, of course, they come with the traditional assortment of shredded lettuce, cilantro, and chopped white onions.

The pollo tacos were a little dry, and the seasonings were present if not particularly resounding. The luscious barbacoa taco turned out to be amazing: The soft, well-seasoned beef swaddled in the sturdy tortillas with a little lime and onion was absolute street-food perfection.

The knife-and-fork burrito veered more toward the Tex-Mex side of things, even though my dining companion picked the barbacoa for protein. The soft meat, combined with rice, beans, gooey flour tortilla, a little bit of shredded lettuce, and half a cow’s worth of sour cream, was all just too texturally similar. Picking the pastor or carnitas might have been a better option.

For no reason other than novelty, we opted for a side of the carne asada fries. They’re essentially plain fries covered nacho-style in good, goopy cheese, flavorful Aaada meat, and more onion, tomato, and peppers, along with generous dabs of sour cream. Was it the best side of fries ever? No, but as potato nachos, the fries served a purpose: to assist in shoveling in the tasty queso and bits of meat and veg.

While you wait for your order at Los Tacos Way, you’ll have time to peruse the slightly condensation-blurry ’fridge full of Jarritos sodas and a small selection of pastries and flan from the semi-legendary La Paloma panaderia in Irving. All the La Paloma goodies are house-made and well worth the calories.

The birria joint is ensconced in the same strip mall as Arlington’s Puerto Rican El Mofongo and the Cuban Havana Bar & Grill (both survived the ’Rona, to my pleasant surprise). It’s a veritable United Nations-style culinary crossroads when you throw in the venerable Thai House, which has held down its chunk of real estate for as long as I can remember. Los Tacos Way is shiny and loud, but if you’re looking for birria, they’ve got you covered.

 

Los Tacos Way, 3701 S Cooper St, Ste 141, Arlington. 817-576-2626. 11am-9pm Tue-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

 

Los Tacos Way
Birria quesadillas $9.99
Burrito $8.99
Three tacos w/beans and rice $9.99
Carne asada fries $9.99

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