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Tacos Dorado, or perfect mini grilled cheeses on tortillas with slow-simmered beef, await at Calisience. Photo by Laurie James.

Earlier this year, Calisience maven Jacqueline Anaya moved her recipes from her old food truck on Belknap Street into a revamped restaurant in the Six Points Urban Village, the area that encompasses Race Street and the eastern part of the Trinity River. The building formerly housed Dino’s Sports Bar, and it’s cavernous, with enough room to host 100 or more. Anaya has kept things simple with the unfussy wood furnishings and has focused on what got her where she is: the birria.

Birria de res is cooked low and slow for about 12 hours, yet unlike barbecue, the meat simmers in a complexly layered, warmly spicy broth on a stove rather than on a smoker. Anaya’s recipe is a secret from her abuela, but I tasted hints of cinnamon and a really mild pepper.

Tacos Dorados, three corn tortillas filled with slow-cooked beef and mild Monterrey Jack cheese, are seared to order on a flat top. Remember that your order isn’t sitting under a heat lamp and will take a few minutes to arrive piping hot and crispy. If you’ve lived under a rock for the last three years or more, birria tacos are a marriage of quesadilla and taco, deliciously stuffed with moist beef. They’re like the perfect grilled cheese, but instead of dipping the yumminess in tomato soup, you have both the hearty consommé and a creamy, spicy green salsa. The salsa actually cut the beefy, cheesy heaviness of the second taco beautifully. A small bowl of chopped onion, radish, and cilantro provided a customizable touch.

In the old Dino’s space, Calisience is wide and welcoming.
Courtesy Instagram
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At Calisience, consommé flavors everything from the tacos to bowls of ramen with a scoop of beef on top. After considering the noodles, my dining companion opted for the burrito. The giant, perfectly grilled flour tortilla came filled with all the good things, including beef, rice, cheese, silky beans, and, if you want it, cilantro. Unfortunately, what makes the birria tacos extraordinary makes the burrito gummy and a little soggy.

Horchata, ordered as an afterthought on the way out, was a perfect dessert-like treat. The plain version wasn’t overly sweet, and on the day we visited, a strawberry version was also on offer.

Despite opening recently, Calisience still can’t sell you an alcoholic beverage in the restaurant. The presence of the giant bar in the new space is part hopeful and part sad reality that smaller owner-operators have to jump through an inordinate number of hoops for the TABC’s blessings. As of this writing, the restaurant is still BYOB. Call to check before you go, or consult Calisience’s social media –– often the restaurant closes for private events. Unusually, they won’t take your cash. It’s credit card only here.

In the spring of 2021, Anaya was included in a Texas Monthly article about women-owned taco shops. At that point, she had pivoted as much as she could, from cooking in her house to running an older food truck right through the heart of the COVID closures, reopenings, and supply-chain chaos. The menu in the brick-and-mortar has been pared perfectly to maximize the success that Anaya already has. I’d rather have fewer choices of food homemade with love from a family recipe than see an extravagant number of semi-homemade options courtesy of Sysco. Just as great as the food itself is that you don’t have to wait outside on Belknap Street for a few hours for your birria fix and you won’t slop the consommé in your car — unless you can’t wait to dig into your takeout on the way home.

 

Calisience
2707 Race St, FW. 817-386-5287. 4-8pm Mon, 11am-8pm Tue-Sat. Credit cards only.
The giant, perfectly grilled flour tortilla came filled with all the good burrito things, including beef, rice, cheese, silky beans, and, if you want it, cilantro.
Courtesy Instagram

Calisience
Tacos Dorado $15
Burrito $11
Horchata $5

The brisket elotes are new.
Courtesy Instagram

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