It’s impossible to make out the sign to this Mexican restaurant when you drive past it on Bandera Road. The sign’s too small and the cursive type is hard to read. Then when you finally park and walk up to the thing, it says “El Capital del Sabor.”
Ballsy. Which is why I’ve always appreciated Rudy’s claim as the “Worst Barbecue in Texas.” Kind of destroys all the expectations that way. It’s also worth noting that El Capital del Sabor in Leon Valley is a Mexican seafood restaurant, not necessarily a taqueria.
And then we saw it — for only the second time — the chicharron prensado. This taco I had encountered only at Guerrero’s on Rigsby. But the version there baffled me. That one was more shredded pork with chopped up and fried pork skins embedded in the meat, supposedly. But there was no crunch. The taste was fine, but it didn’t register as chicharron the way I’m used to.
This chicharron prensado opened my eyes and tastebuds to a whole different world of pig. This was marinaded skins and the meat (still attached) fried in fat. So, not the puffed up skins we’re used to but thin and crispy skin with dangling meat. All of it was red, but we couldn’t crack the marinade code. The flavor was strong in pork, like carnitas, the marinade providing a muted note reminiscent of Chinese pork. The skins were super crunchy, the meat super soft. An excellent taco.
Before I get into the other tacos, I must mention the superb red sauce. By far the best chile de arbol sauce I’ve had. Usually, chile de arbol-based sauces are pure arbol chile, which has a strong and smoky flavor. This arbol sauce was almost fruity and vinegary. Its complexion wasn’t dark red but slightly orange. Also, extremely hot.
The rest of the tacos we had were pretty good on about average flour and corn tortillas.
I was unfamiliar with chicken tinga, which is shredded and stewed chicken whose defining characteristic seems to be chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce. This, according to Google, anyway. Obviously some garlic and onion. This was a satisfying taco.
The potato ranchero had well-cooked potatoes and a garlicky and tomato-y basic ranchero sauce that kicked on its own. The ham and egg — more thinly sliced ham rather than the cubed form — was fine but needed the smoky green salsa to moisten it some. The carne guisada was strong in chili powder, was a little chewy and overall about average.
I really enjoyed the machacado with its excellently seasoned meat, but the portion was tiny. The bean and cheese was mildly subpar bean and cheese — my fellow taco enthusiast suspected the beans had been canned.
I will return to La Capital del Sabor for the chicharron prensado. Perhaps the Capital of Flavor should have had more home run tacos, but one grand slam is just fine.
La Capital del Sabor, 7101 Bandera Road, (210) 200-8901
— 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.