Alas! What, at first bite, appeared to have promise turned out to be false hope for this taco-seeking denizen. After four visits and two experiences in which I was served food that didn’t taste very fresh and tasting of old fry-oil, I have to put this down as a “If I was super hungry I might stop here, but I don’t give it much hope for becoming the go-to.
Their hot, fresh salsas and friendly service has been consistent throughout, but I’m afraid that’s the only thing that has.
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People, we have a contender. I’m not going to go so far as to say I like these better than El Toro, but damn, I might like them better than El Toro. It hurts me to say that, but honesty is the best policy in both life and tacos.
TACO LOCO – 5954 Lankershim Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91601
(Tucked behind the Taco Bell in the strip center at the Southwest corner of Oxnard & Lankershim in North Hollywood. Across the street from the CVS.)
We got the cabeza, buche, al pastor, carnitas traditional tacos and two chicken “King Tacos”, which are Taco Loco’s deep fried tacos.
I don’t know if they make them in-house, but they use the smaller, thicker corn tortilla for their traditional tacos. I don’t dislike them, per se, but it’s maybe the one thing I like less. They taste fine, they just don’t have the fold and hold power of the thinner, store-bought corn tortilla, and they tend to crack and make it a little harder to eat the taco, which, frankly, isn’t really a huge problem. I’ll eat it straight off the plate with my mouth, if you want me to.
Quality and quantity was fine. The tacos were filled full, and even though they look smaller, I think it’s the overall same quantity of filler and wrap that you get with the slightly larger tortilla.
The cabeza was basically perfect in every way. A little heat to the pastor, which I liked. The carnitas and buche were good. The deep fried tacos were delicious, and slopped with some kind of tasty jalapeño sour cream sauce.
I’ve only ever tried the pineapple juice at El Toro, so I’m not sure what the norm is. It’s very sweet and syrupy with little chunks of pineapple at Taco Loco. I prefer the much more watered down version with less sugar we used to get. An interesting thing about Taco Loco is that they also have a smoothie bar type thing where you can get what seem to be a pretty fair selection of blended drinks. The lady and guy behind the counter was smiling and friendly, both times I went (I snuck back two days later under the pretense of feeding a hung-over friend). Both times, the person on the register was also cooking, so it took 20 minutes or so to get the food, but I went twice during off hours (late afternoon on Halloween, and pre-lunchtime on a weekday). We will definitely be hitting up this taco joint again.
El Toro News: We drove by El Toro a few days back and there are workers fixing something on the roof. There’s a huge sign out front that says “UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP.” Will update as we know more.