Part of my partiality to el guero tortero, who is also known as Steve, is probably his status as a half-Filipino that has come to love and embrace Mexican food. The other part of my partiality is that he makes a mean torta. And his restaurant, instead of trying to make things fancy like so many other non-Mexcians running Mexican food joints, serves a straightforward torta that would rival any on South Federal or East Aurora both in quality and in price. And he's doing it right in the heart of town. So when he asked me to come in and try his newest menu addition before he unleashed it on the public, how could I say no?
Much to my surprise, however, the newest menu addition at Torta Grill is not a torta. It is a taco--three tacos, actually, and they will only be served for breakfast on Saturday mornings. The first two we had were carnitas and carne asada; both served in a single corn tortilla on top of an over-easy egg and drizzled with a bright and spicy green salsa.
It looks simple, and it was. But if you've ever had Steve's carnitas, then you will know you don't necessarily want to have too many other things complicating your lovely little pork chunks. But if you must, the nice green salsa worked well, and so too did the fabulously runny egg. Be prepared for a little bit of a mess with these tacos, but know that it is a mess you won't want to go away.
The steak taco was virtually the same as the carnitas, and although also very good, I much prefer a nice fatty chunk of moist pork over a nub of beef any day, and this was no exception. The last of the trio we tried was in the same format, but instead of meat was a piece of breaded and fried poblano pepper stuffed with queso Oaxaca.
This poblano taco was also rather brilliant. With that fried egg and its velvety warm egg yolk, Steve could put just about anything from his kitchen on these tacos and do pretty well. But choosing this stuffed poblano works especially well I think because of the strong flavors and the different textures. The crisp poblano taste is there, and the egg just adds more richness and depth. OK, I guess I might be getting carried away. Straightforward food deserves straightforward description. Let's just leave it at this: It's a damn good taco. And it's vegetarian if you care about those kinds of things.
You know, besides the rare media dinners I end up attending from time to time, I normally try to go places without anyone knowing I'm there (not that most would care). It's a way to take some bias out of the biased business that is food blogging. So that is supposed to serve as a disclaimer of sorts. Of course I dined at Torta Grill with some level of bias, being that I was invited and being that I think Steve is a great guy and I want to see him do well. That being said, I don't think I have ever had tacos quite like this. That runny egg and those amazing carnitas have me wishing for next Saturday morning already.
This Saturday morning--March 23--will be the first of many more Saturday mornings when you can get your own breakfast tacos. So when Saturday comes around, whether you are still drunk wandering the back alleys of East Colfax and waiting for the liquor store next door to Torta Grill to open--or just like to eat good food, check it out.