Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Juanito's Taqueria

4150 Hemphill Street, Fort Worth, TX
(817) 924-3636
Sun-Thu 9am-12pm, Fri-Sat 9am-4am.
All major credit cards are accepted

Consumed Tacos: Barbacoa/Carnitas
Preference: Carnitas

Heading back to Tacoville, I elected to try out Juanito’s, which is directly across the street from El Pollo Palenque. Juanito’s also seems to be the most popular Taqueria at that intersection, as there are a multitude of customers coming and leaving as compared with El Pollo Palenque.

Walking in to Juanito’s impressed me. Not because the d├ęcor is fancy (which it isn’t), but instead reeks of what I believe a Taqueria to be. The atmosphere inside is very akin to a Dairy Queen—plenty of seats, booths along the wall, and an open kitchen. I really wanted to like this place!

The menu, which is written on a board above the kitchen, is in 100% Spanish. All of the meats are laid out in heating pans (similar to Chipotle), and you select the type of Tacos you want. What I found impressive was they chop the meat upon order. Thus if you ordered fajita taco, they cut the fajita strips from the steak.

The service was incredibly poor however. My order-taker was becoming frustrated with me asking about the types of meat (which were all in Spanish). I can’t help it if I don’t want to partake in cow brains or some sort of animal tongue. Mexicans eat some pretty crazy stuff, and I want to know EXACTLY what I’m eating before it goes in my mouth. Additionally, the cashier was more interested in speaking to the customer in front of me about everything other than his order (it was in Spanish so not sure of the subject) but I had to stand and wait five minutes before I could pay---which made my tacos get a little cold.

They sell glass-bottled Cokes (imported from Mexico), which is a very nice treat. Not soda-fountain, not can, but GLASS BOTTLE. These are the authentic, non-twist offs we remember from our child-hood. Nothing goes better with a taco than coke from a glass.

I ordered two barbacoa tacos and two carnitas tacos. What I’m learning about taquerias is that there can be a HUGE difference in taste depending on what meat is selected. I also found out (later) that barbacoa typically consists of parts of the cows head. Perhaps not in Chipotle, but in this authentic taqueria, my best bet is it does. Consequently I will be taking a break from barbacoa, even though it was one of my favorite meats---damn Wikipedia!

The tacos came with a nice amount of cilantro and onions as well as some (optional) peppers, which were terrific! They were not to hot to keep you up all night, but they still had a nice kick to them. Unfortunately I cannot say enough about the meat itself. I never realized meat could simply not have “taste”, but that was the case for the carnitas. Regardless of the amount of salsa I put on it, the blandess of the carnitas really stood out. The barbacao was sub-par, as well. Quite a bit of fat (or at least I hope it was fat), which had me spit out a few bites.

I wanted to like this place. I really did. It has everything I am looking for, except outstanding tacos. I give it three tacos mainly due to its atmosphere and the glass-bottled coke. It will still return, but take my chances with other types of meat and hope for a difference.


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  2. If you can't handle something as simple and non-offensive as lengua (tongue), you need to keep your gringo ass out of places like Juanito's. This is coming from a gringo chef who has had almost as much "crazy stuff" as Andrew Zimmern. Tongue has the tenderness of a tenderloin and the flavor of a striploin - you're really missing out by not having it. Get over the fact that it's a fucking tongue and you'll actually enjoy it.

    You think you're coming off as a knowledgeable foodie, but what you really look like is a xenophobic clown. The food at Juanito's is not made for you, and if you can't understand their menu, that's YOUR problem, not theirs. Since your palate seems to be limited to very pedestrian "White Bread" fare, you should probably stick to Del Taco, Uncle Julio's, or Chipotle (the only good thing about Chipotle is they serve Niman Ranch pork).


  3. I can not believe the way my mother and I were treated at this place because we did not know ordering tacos with everything ment chile as well. We are use to everything bieng cilantro, onions maybe tomatoes and crema but not chile>! My father is in the hospital in bad shape, the last thing I needed was to be handed a spoon and asked to scoop the hot sauce off my self. When my mom asked for the tacos to be replaced the lady said I have to throw this away now because of you. The cook from the back was complaining if we didnt know better and the guy from the line was Bi***ing about it as well. We ended up having to go somewhere else. SO MUCH FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE !! Honestly lost a customer will never go out of my way again for this place. Please work on your service skills, since that is your money maker PEOPLE.