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Review: Austin Taco House in Southlake

Austin Taco House 2001 W. Southlake Blvd, No. 125 Southlake 817-416-0346 Hours: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday On Facebook

Posted 5:28pm on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

In west Southlake sits a little restaurant known as Austin Taco House, a dwarf among stores in a shopping center. You’re likely to drive by the place unless you’re really paying attention.

And that’d be a shame. It seems to be one of the few places in Southlake to get authentic Mexican food.

Four years ago, Tereso Acosta took over the restaurant from its previous owner. Originally from San Luis, Mexico, his dishes are a departure from the usual chain restaurants occupying the Southlake area.

And if that’s exactly what you’re craving, Acosta has a few things that’ll satisfy you. Like tacos. Lots of tacos ($1.59).

You can choose from ground and shredded beef, carnitas (pork), al pastor, picadillo, barbacoa, chorizo and others. Each can be ordered “Gringo style,” with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and sour cream (50 cents).

We tried the shredded beef, picadillo, steak fajita and chorizo. Of the four, the chorizo had us raising our brows. While the picadillo was seasoned well and the shredded beef was tender, the chorizo’s flavor was truly unique, eclipsing the others.

It turns out Acosta marinates the meat in pineapple juice, and adds cinnamon, some chocolate and a bunch of other spices. The result is a taco that is very reminiscent of Indian cuisine — spicy and sweet.

He also serves breakfast tacos ($1.59-$2.19), with eggs and cheese, beans, sausage, or machacado (dried beef).

Other breakfast options include migas ($5.25) and huevos rancheros ($5.25), a plate of over-easy eggs with red sauce on top. But after being spoiled by the taste of the chorizo, huevos rancheros simply wouldn’t cut it.

So we stuck with the lunch and dinner options.

Quesadillas ($1.59-$2.09) come with creamy mozzarella, your choice of steak or chicken, and a lightly browned tortilla. Chiles rellenos ($6.49), lightly battered, are stuffed with your choice of ground beef or cheese. My suggestion? Go for the meat.

Burritos ($5.25) are stuffed with rice, beans, lettuce, cheese and beef, chicken or carnitas. Of the three, the pork easily hogs the attention.

Like the chorizo, and all the other meats at Austin Taco House, the carnitas, or pork, goes through its very own flavor ritual. It is marinated in Acosta’s blend of seasonings, and then cooked slowly for three hours. The result is pork that’s tender and sweet with a chargrilled texture.

Since each meat is prepared differently, each is unique. The chicken, for example, is marinated overnight. But while no two meats have the same flavor, there’s definitely a sweetness to all of them.

Acosta also has seasonal items, like menudo and tamales, which we got to sample. And if you think the local chains have tamales like Acosta’s, then you’re most definitely not paying attention.

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