Part One of the Angus Eats. . . Salsa Series
Unless you’ve been too wrapped up in the Doritos taco to notice, Chicago has an abundance of incredible places both spiffy and grimy to get Mexican food. What’s even better is that these stomach-bombing staples have been tweaked with their local flavor by a place like Irazu (Costa Rican) or just plain perfected by the gift from the heavens that is Nuevo León.
But I’m talking about Mexican food today, and while it’s not hard to make a passable Mexican dish, it’s harder than you’d think to find a place with good salsa.
Lollapalooza’s been announced, it should be getting warm (again) soon, and you’re going to need a good place to soak up all that booze once drinking begins. I’m not one to ever compromise taste when possible despite whatever state of inebriation I’m in, so welcome to the Salsa Series. I’m going to profile several restaurants that are exemplary in either flavor, heat, spices, or specific use (i.e. if they’re made for a specific dish).
Today we begin with a place I already feel awful for not ever trying before: Taco & Burrito House (Broadway St. and Barry Ave.). From the outside, everything about this place screams generic. The tiny space, the tinier grill, the misspelled menu with mismatched lettersets, and even the neon sign in the window that plainly states, “Tacos & Nachos OPEN.” After moving from Logan Square to Lakeview I was convinced my best shot at Mexican food would be Cesar’s. Luckily, this is not the case.
While the tacos here are huge and the fajitas are plentiful alongside the obligatory beans and rice, the salsa is what makes it all come together. Neither of them are particularly spicy, but the flavor is incredible. The red sauce is all at one time sweet, smoky, and marked by a distinct flavor of tomato. I’m sure you’re wondering, “Angus, all salsas are generally tomato-like” but this is different. It tastes fresher, sweeter, much more distinct than many other red sauces I’ve tasted. For those into salsa verde, TB&H’s version is perfect for cilantro lovers, and packs a welcome bit of spice to the equation. All around, this place delivers. Just make sure you get extra salsa.