Taco Time

As you may have already heard, there is a new taco place in town. And if not, let me be the one to bring you the good news: Greatfull Taco opened in May on S. Shepherd, and in a few short weeks it has already made quite the splash. Owner Paul West admits to being inspired by Torchy’s Tacos in Austin, and I can see the connection: Greatfull Taco doesn’t try to be authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex – no worries, Xuco Xicana or El Real – but puts together a fusion of flavors that culminate in tacos both distinct and delicious.

Located in the old Sabetta location and open from 7 am to 10 pm, Greatfull Taco caters to early risers and night owls alike, and their menu accommodates both. Breakfast tacos are served all day, with a small charge added after 11 am. I opted for a late breakfast, so there were only two other people in the dining room. As I sat and waited for the rest of my party to arrive, I was a little skeptical watching others order as the cashier couldn’t have been older than 15 or 16. But I soon realized my hasty judgment was completely off base: Not only was the kid polite and helpful, but he obviously knew his stuff as he rattled off the ingredients of different salsas and sauces as if he’d made them himself.

The staff made ordering a breeze, and within five minutes our order was brought to the table. They may not look like much, but don’t underestimate these tacos. The chorizo and egg was great, and not the typical grease-laden chorizo that soaks the tortilla. The La Grange pan sausage was equally delicious. Non-greasy meat, simple ingredients and a fresh flour tortilla to wrap it all up — it’s as simple as that.

The breakfast tacos can also be ordered in combo packs of 10 or 25 for business meetings and parties, along with copious amounts of coffee available in 96-ounce or three-gallon sizes.

The non-breakfast line-up includes tacos such as the Viola Lee, filled with chunks of fried green tomatoes and topped with serrano mayo, the Chicken Mole with sliced almonds and the Emo-Topia with fried eggplant, artichoke and poblano mayo, all on fresh corn tortillas. Flour and whole wheat tortillas are also available. Prices are a little high for a fast-casual serve-yourself spot with single tacos ranging from $1.75 (for the bean, cheese and potato) to $4.25 (for shrimp), with most in the $3.95 range. Chips and salsa are $3.50.

While the restaurant’s theme is a play on the Grateful Dead, the interior doesn’t scream dead-head hangout; there are polished wood tables, umbrella-covered patio, high-quality surround sound and flat-screen televisions. But in keeping with the theme, orders are given a musician’s name such as Stevie Wonder and Janice Joplin. With its extensive beer and wine list, I expect this place to be jumping on game nights.

GREATFULL TACO 2411 S. Shepherd just north of Westheimer, 281-888-2504, www.greatfulltaco.com

by Rachel Kitchens | SideDish | Date July 15, 2011

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