It’s heartbreaking when a taqueria cooks up some tasty taco fillings, but the tortillas are subpar. I wouldn’t say this is common in San Antonio, but it happens more than you’d think.
This was the case at El Jaral on Roosevelt Avenue. And it pains me to write this because the fillings were very good and in one case excellent.
Take, for example, the potato and bacon at El Jaral. This would have been one of the best tacos I’ve had while writing this blog, but the flour tortilla was stiff. The potatoes, however, were cooked perfectly — crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and not greasy. Seriously, the best potatoes I’ve had as The Tacoist. And the bacon strip had that semi-chewy consistency that I crave.
The carne guisada had that depth of flavor that comes with a well-composed and slow-cooked braised dish. The meat was tender. Fellow taco enthusiast The Palate thought he detected ancho chili powder in the mix.
The machacado was a bit of a hiccup only because the dried meat lacked seasoning. But the egg was done right and I loved that the onion flavor that popped through.
The barbacoa was very good and not that greasy. It had a crispiness to it that suggested it had been cooked a second time on a flattop, which I loved. The hardness of the tortilla here was excusable because you could tell from the grease marks that the tortilla had been warmed on the same flattop. Like any good San Antonian, try the green hot sauce, which at El Jaral is garlicky.
The bean and chorizo was packed with flavor, and the bean and cheese was respectable on a thin corn tortilla that had hard edges.
So, yeah, these tacos were tasty but the tortillas were off. Maybe I went on an off day. You should definitely and check it out for yourself. Just don’t expect the tortillas to blow your mind.
El Jaral, 5140 Roosevelt Avenue, (210) 927-1141
— 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.