Restaurant News

First Look at Greatfull Taco

Yes, Paul West is a little eccentric. But looking around his newly opened restaurant, Greatfull Taco, on a sunny Saturday morning, it was evident that any eccentricities were clearly and charmingly manifested in the bright colors, roller-coaster menu and intriguing deep cuts playing from vinyl records on an LP near the counter.

And as I looked around, I started to get a little nervous. Every part of the restaurant screamed "perfect" to me. Too perfect. Flat-screen TVs hung thick from the walls; high-end speakers were installed in the patio's squat stone columns; the dining room's design looked sleekly and professionally done. As if all of the energy and money had been devoted to the decor and ambiance instead of the food.

Over a table of tacos 10 minutes later, that question had been quickly put to rest. These were excellent Texas-style tacos. Greatfull Taco only really had to do one thing right past the high-energy interior -- its much self-touted tacos -- and it's already doing that and more in just the few shorts weeks since it's been open.

The Viola Lee ($2.50), one of a handful of interesting vegetarian options on the menu (fried eggplant and artichoke with poblano mayo is another), came with fried green tomatoes and serrano mayonnaise under a light slaw of shredded carrots. The battered tomatoes were every bit as tart and tangy as I'd hoped, making a for standout summer taco -- the kicky serrano mayo didn't hurt, either.

And I was surprised by just how much I liked the Red Rooster Jerk ($2.95), which I ordered seemingly at random -- the large menu was a lot to take in at first glance, with 16 regular tacos to choose from. But the crunchy jicama and jalapeño slaw that topped a slightly spicy breast of jerk chicken was unexpectedly delicious, as I can normally take or leave jerk seasoning. The crunchy slaw and hopped-up mango-habanero salso took that chicken to a whole different, delicious place.

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Katharine Shilcutt