Throughout my time at El Toro in Leon Valley, employees appeared only when they were needed. As I walked in, the place seemed empty — no customers or staff. Then, as I stood before the register and the billboard-shaped menu presiding above, out popped a guy to take my order.
They had cameras, I guess, to know when they were needed.
I wish this was a fun quirk to El Toro and that the food was amazing. Instead, El Toro was hit and miss. This small restaurant is attached to a Shell on Bandera Road. So, not gas station tacos, but a separate restaurant with a door that leads straight into the convenience store.
El Toro’s best flavor came from its papa ranchera. The sauce, in particular, was excellent. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that this is the best ranchera sauce put on potatoes that I’ve had while writing this blog. It was fresh with the pureness of the tomato coming out in a watery sauce that had bits of onion and serrano pepper throughout. It was seasoned perfectly. And the peppers provided kick, but nothing that would leave a mark.
This sauce made the taco worth it. Because the potatoes were average — they were large-cut and like white almost, like they were boiled and not finished in a skillet or hot surface.
So the potato quality was a downgrade, but the flour tortillas really sank this taco and the others.
They were confounding. They appeared flawless — they were puffed up in all the right places. Fluffy AF, if you will. But when I bit into them, they were chewy AF.
The bistec con chorizo was very good, but those damned tortillas. The meat was OK. It was a nice combo. Actually, this taco grew on me. The mixture of the chorizo and steak mixed in beautifully with the cilantro and onions.
The carne guisada was heavy — the meat cold, the sauce nice. Heavy on the chili powder. The meat was tender enough. Add the green hot sauce for an almost sweet flavor. Actually, this taco grew on me, too.
Very average beans and a high quality corn tortilla comprised El Toro’s bean and cheese on corn.
To return to the papa ranchera sauce. If I’m in the area, driving up and down Bandera Road, I’ll definitely return for this taco. I’ll waive to the cameras as I walk in.
Mr. Toro, 9503 Bandera Road, (210) 681-8843
Worth traveling across town for
Average S.A. taqueria. Some hits, some 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 email@example.com.