La Grange Has A New Taco Menu, For Now
Deep Ellum has always been a music hub; what's been missing is good food. Lemongrass and Local have been producing decent eats for some time, and Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop is a welcome addition to the 'hood, but for the most part Elm, Commerce and Main streets have catered to folks who put their music and beer first. Food is an afterthought.
When DC9 At Night reported music venue La Grange was for sale, I was initially a little distraught. The piece by Pete Freedman quoted owner Stephanie Schumacher with respect to the kitchen space added after she took over. "Adding in the kitchen really turned it into a whole product. There's value there," she said. But the real value isn't in a gas range, expanded refrigeration or whatever else they did. It's in a menu they developed that's just now coming into its own.
I had brunch at La Grange months ago, during my interview with the Observer, and I wasn't impressed. The buffet style offering was amateur at best and borderline unpalatable, boasting rookie potatoes and eggs in hotel pans that barely kept their offerings warm. A few weeks ago I returned. They'd added a selection of tacos and a few snacks, and suddenly the space has the potential to rock some late night eats.
La Grange's fare would never hang with Dallas' more authentic street tacos or many of the popular taquerías, but considering the evening offerings in Deep Ellum, the updated menu is a welcome addition. I really hope whoever takes over when Schumacher runs for the hills, moneybags in hand, has the sense to hang on to a menu that serves a specific niche in the 'hood by serving $2 tacos that pack serious flavor.
Pork verde stands out, pairing tender, moist, braised pork with lettuce onions, and a habanero crema. The brisket tacos are good too. The kitchen can get a little heavy handed with the queso, but the lime-tinged crema is a nice touch. Vegetarians rejoice! Poblano peppers are featured in two meat-free tacos, one with mushrooms, the other with pinto beans. I hope all these tacos will still be available when and if a new owner steps in and takes over.