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Passing the Torchy

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If buzz counted for everything instead of nearly everything, Torchy’s Tacos would be Austin’s top-rated restaurant. Of course, it’s not a restaurant: It’s a trailer parked in a vacant lot across from El Mercado at the intersection of South First and Gibson. You’d be forgiven for missing it, or for noticing it and running in the opposite direction (not exactly a velvet-rope crowd — know what I mean?). But so many people have been saying so many nice things about it that I finally gave in and picked up food there yesterday. And … I get it. Great low-key vibe (could it have any other kind?) and great, interesting, South Austin-y fare. Extremely great salsa — several kinds, in fact, including one that’s so hot they warn you not to get it. Seriously. I had to talk the server into giving it to me. For lunch I ordered the Baja Shrimp taco, which was truly wonderful — better shrimp than you get in most bricks-and-mortar restaurants, and prepared exactly right: battered just enough, fried just enough, dressed just enough. I also ordered a taco called the Dirty Sanchez. (You can stop snickering right this minute. Okay, don’t. I haven’t stopped since I saw it on the menu.) It has scrambled eggs and a bunch of orange and green marinated vegetables, and it kind of worked. I liked it, but I wouldn’t necessarily order it again — apparently one Dirty Sanchez is enough. Next time I’m getting the Last Taco in Paris. Hold the butter.

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