Chef Chetra Chau has cooked a variety of cuisines in a plethora of kitchens for a quarter of a century, according to the fluttery press release from his newest venture, The Dream Tacos. Early commenters singled out both the daring fusion concept (tandoori chicken in a soft flour tortilla!) and the price points (a $14 lobster taco?!), so it was with an open mind and a wallet full of $20s that my two dining companions and I ventured in on a Saturday morning.
Lone server Madison coped cheerfully with the steady flow of weekend customers and delivered hot-from-the-fryer chips and a sweet-spicy ranchero-style salsa to keep us company as we perused the menu in which Asian, French, Asian-Indian, barbecue, and Mexican cuisines are fused. For the record, glistening chips means someone in the kitchen loves us and wants us to be happy.
The sushi nachos (salmon only as the restaurant was out of ahi tuna) arrived looking like foodie porn off a social media site. The giant pile of corn chips were covered in a spicy mayo sauce, a touch of red Sriracha, and a sweet drizzle that tasted like hoisin or soy sauce. A plentiful serving of salmon chunks, crispy rice noodles, pickled veg, slightly spicy green scallion, and shreds of crunchy cabbage came together atop the chips like a big Jenga puzzle. The chips were a sturdy vehicle for the slippery toppings, and our initial taste of Asian-Mexican fusion was successful.
The Dream serves all of their tacos on flour tortillas, probably because flour would hold up best to things like “Chetra’s Sauce” or some of the gooier options. If you’re gluten-free or low-carb, lettuce wraps or corn tortillas can be substituted –– except on the day we visited, when the kitchen was out of corn tortillas.
The most successful fusion tacos were the braised pork belly, which was presented inventively on bao buns, and the crispy sushi salmon. The former, a tiny sandwich of meat-fat-meat flavored with hoisin, was a delight served open-faced on the fluffy bao buns to make tacos. The tart pickled veggies helped combat the decadent richness of the fatty pork belly.
The sushi taco was reminiscent of the appetizer, with the flour tortilla dealing admirably with the overload of salmon, crab, and avocado, along with some nori for crunch. The ponzu and eel sauces along with more Sriracha were just wonderful to eat.
The Dream’s one failure was the classic traditional beef taco, which is the most reasonably priced of the bunch. The kitchen was out of corn tortillas, and subbing a lettuce wrap ended up being a terrible choice. The pile of ground beef was spiced more sweetly than savory, which was odd. No amount of cilantro or tasty pico de gallo could fix the flavor, and the grease from the meat puddled and congealed unappealingly.
Skip the traditional tacos and also the mixed drinks. Inexplicably, the Asian pear martini had a shot of faux-flavor sour mix that was repulsive, and the pina colada suffered from the same weird mixer.
If you follow one of the Fort Worth foodie groups, you may have seen the publicly posted fracas between one of the page’s administrators and the restaurant. The allegation was that a family (or perhaps two) got food poisoning at The Dream. It may be hopelessly naïve of me to believe that food poisoning warrants an actual call to the management, then maybe to the health department. Multiple other Google and Yelp reviewers have lambasted The Dream for its prices. While it’s true that I won’t generally lay out more than $4 for a taco, the pricing is clear on the website. Anyone going in not knowing you’ll need to cash a paycheck to eat here didn’t do their homework. Still, the tart response from the restaurant’s social media rep made me think they weren’t paying attention to the still-toasty embers of restaurateur Carlo Galotto’s epic drunken Facebook rampage in 2011 or even the tone-deafness of the Hot Box Biscuit Club summer-of-2020 exchange, where it was determined that it was “none of your concern” what the owners would do with their alleged cultural appropriation.
But back to The Dream. At least for lunch, one of the tasty tacos and a shared appetizer are probably plenty of food. Are The Dream tacos the best in North Texas? No. Will this matter to people in the Mid-Cities who want to support a local restaurateur and his fusion dreams in a Bedford strip mall? Probably not.
The Dream Tacos
Sushi nachos $14.99
Braised pork belly $7.99
Crispy sushi taco $8.99
Traditional beef taco $6.25
Asian Peartini $9
Pina colada $8
The Dream Tacos
2807 Central Park Dr, Bedford. 682-503-6373. 11am-10pm Sun-Wed, 11am-11pm Thu-Sat.