How did I discover Nacogdoches Road just last week? I’ve driven on Perrin Beitel Road before, but never to where it turns into Nacogdoches, which is like the S.W. Military Drive of the northside. Not really. But it’s definitely more working class than any neighborhood I’d associate with the northside. All those taquerias and tire shops. And not just a Culebra Meat Market, but a La Michoacana Meat Market.
We picked Los Arcos — a tiny place in a retail strip that’s wedged between a pho restaurant and a Rios Golden Cut, the chain where I went for all my ‘dos during my elementary and middle school years. The tiny restaurant fills up with people standing around waiting for to-go orders.
And for good reason. The tacos at Los Arcos were good across the menu. I find this to be unusual. At most taquerias, taco quality usually fluctuates — certain tacos they will have mastered, while others not so much. The six tacos we ordered at Los Arcos were all of high quality — not one distinguished itself from the other. No standout.
If I had to nitpick, I’d single out the flour tortillas. They were more doughy than they were pliable. For me, a perfect flour tortilla you should be able to grab from the sides and twist with ease. The tortillas here are thicker and chewier — like they never puffed up on the comal.
But, again, the fillings were all high quality.
The chilaquiles had crispy chips and the other ingredients mixed beautifully with the egg. The shredded cheese was one of those prepackaged medley deals with stringy strands of white and various yellows. I prefer — I think we all prefer — the thicker-shredded nuclear cheddar cheese, to steal a line from Anthony Bourdain.
The beans in the bean and cheese had good flavor and were light in a corn tortilla that was soft with medium thickness. The papa chorizo was about as good as papa chorizo gets, well-done potatoes lightly coated in chorizo and not at all greasy. The sausage in the country and egg was clearly a higher brand of sausage. The carne guisada had hints of tomato paste and chili powder — a sign that they’re putting in the effort — and therefore had the complex flavor that’s required with this stew. The machacado was well balanced with curiously seasoned meat. Cumin, perhaps.
Any of these tacos could be enhanced with the two hot sauces — your typical serrano-based green and chile de arbol-based red.
If it hadn’t been for the slightly disappointing tortillas, Los Arcos would be high on my list of best taquerias because the fillings were that good. You must understand, these aren’t bad tortillas. They do just fine. But they definitely are far from being the best.
Now, I can’t wait to explore the rest of Nacogdoches.
Taqueria Los Arcos, 13777 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 599-1822
— Worth traveling across town for
— Average S.A. taqueria. Some hits, some misses
— Mostly misses
— Benjamin Olivo
What do you think? Is there a taco I should have ordered, but didn’t? Have any taco news, issues or concerns? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.