After recuperating last week from the Lake Tahoe trip (unfortunately I did not get tacos there as I spent a lot of time eating with the wedding party at the cabin), I waited until this past weekend to get tacos. However, as us Pittsburghers know, we were hammered with snow Friday into Saturday morning. Sure I had some fun sledding down roads on unfurled Kan Jam cans, participating in epic snow ball fights, and shoveling the entire stretch of Nate’s street for the elders, but I could not get to any tacos! (Compare this to last year’s ‘Snowmageddon’ that never happened…and my trip to Madero Cantina)
It was not until dinner on Sunday that I had my first taco in over a week. Nate and I did some research on what places were open on Sunday for dinner and I checked my iPhone notes for places I still wanted to try. We picked El Paso Mexican Grill at 1155 Washington Pike in Bridgeville for their extensive hours and fairly close proximity. And to be honest, I was really craving a basket of house chips and salsa I knew El Paso would provide.
As soon as we arrived, my cravings were met and Nate and I enjoyed the complimentary chips and salsa while we admired the large ceiling to floor colorful paintings and studied the lengthy menu. I first scoped out all the tacos listed on the menu (besides the kid menu portion) and I found beef hard or soft shell tacos under the side options, order of 3 hard or soft beef, chicken, bean, or cheese tacos listed in the a la carte section, tacos campechanos (beef tip and chorizo) and tacos de carne asada (beef tips only) under the beef section, and shrimp or tilapia tacos under the del mar portion. I REALLY fought against the urge to get a combination meal this time. Like I said you can not beat the value of the combination platters but Nate talked me out of it and reminded me that I am on the search for the best tacos. I then agreed and offered to do a classic taco swap so at least I would have a little variety that would remind me of a combination platter. I ordered the tacos de carne asada and Nate ordered the tacos campechanos.
Service here was speedy as our meals came out as fast as it took us to review the menu. Both of our orders came with three ginormous tacos, a scoop of refried beans and rice, a cup of pico de gallo, and a cup of roasted tomatillo sauce. The beef tip and chorizo tacos that Nate ordered were loaded with meats, cilantro, and onion. A lime was also included. I was a little surprised with the my order as it seemed so bare with just a good amount of beef tips on a double layer corn tortilla. Nothing else.
I first tried the beef tip and chorizo taco as it came. I am glad I sampled the roasted tomatillo salsa before placing it on either taco because it was deceivingly spicy. (Nate made the mistake of dumping it on his taco and it was painful to watch him try to eat his taco with his eyes watery and his nose running intensely. But he said it was good and that the roasted flavors really came through despite it burning some.) My favorite component of this taco were the beef tips. They were seasoned well and I kept craving more of them with each bite. The chorizo was just a little salty and had a mild heat to it as expected. The juices and grease from the chorizo soaked up into the corn shell to give it some additional flavor. Nate really liked the presentation of the beef tip and chorizo tacos, as they also included a medium sized roasted pepper. He punished himself further after the tomatillo salsa by taking a small bite and then having his lips burn for the next 20 minutes!
Next I tried just the naked beef tip taco. I saved the cup of pico de gallo to add to this taco. Just beef and pico. This was surprisingly a great combination. Although the beef tips were a little dry and crispy on the edges, the pico de gallo gave the taco enough substance from the onions and cilantro and moisture from the tomato component to almost balance it out. This combination reminded me of the times where I am laying out by the pool on a 90 degree day (where I am uncomfortably hot at times) but then I have the pool to cool my body off and then I am perfectly content for awhile laying out in the sun. My body is like the beef tip and the pool water is like pico.
Overall, I liked the beef tip tacos better than the beef tip with the chorizo because I think the beef tip taco had a lighter and more refreshing taste to it. The only thing I would want differently out of this taco would be less crispy dry ends of the beef tip and a little lime on the side. I do not think this taco is at the very top of my best in the Burgh taco but I sure did enjoy it as it hit the spot to warm me up from the snow.
Price: Tacos campechanos and tacos de carne asada $10.99 each (includes three tacos, a small bowl of rice, beans, salsa, and pico)