It's Hard To Argue With El Paisa's 75 Cent Taco
The best part of researching Soleo, the subject of this week's review, was ducking into El Paisa, the tiny taqueria tucked into the back of a liquor store next to the Harry Hines Bazaar. This is where Maria and Roberto Velasquez started their first restaurant. Nine locations later they made their move on Preston Hollow and opened what they hope will become the center of their catering business.
Don't drive through for booze and miss out on the tacos inside.
Soleo Steps Up
Back on Harry Hines, not much has changed at the original El Paisa. A lunch rush obliterates the steam tray full of rustic meat stews, rice and beans, and on the weekends the small counter serves up plate after plate of tacos 24 hours a day. For 75 cents, their mini version is hard to beat.
Avoid the chicken, which is tough and dry, and opt for the barbacoa and pastor instead. For the barbacoa, the kitchen braises beef cheek with ancho chili garlic and other spices until it falls apart into a thick and fatty stew that makes a perfect taco filling. They're especially good after you hit each shell with a little of that bright green salsa served next to the cash register.
There's more than cheap perfume and cheap women along this strand of Harry Hines.
The steam tray is worth your attention too. For five dollars you get a few heaping spoonfuls of asado de puerco with rice and beans. The meat is fatty, but very tender and robustly seasoned with guajillo chili. There are a number of other stews including a green costillas de puerco that ran out just as I got to the front of the line. I've got to get back there and try it.