Restaurant talk: Taco Joint

Taco Joint is the perfect name for the newly opened spot at Mockingbird and Abrams – more relaxed than a restaurant, more culinary than a bar, and more hip than a fast-food place.

Though it’s not in Lake Highlands proper, General Manager Vinny Martinez lives in LH and says he’s seen lots of his LH neighbors in the week they’ve been open. Located in the former Sol’s Nieto space, the Lakewood store is the second location – the original Taco Joint has been serving up breakfast burritos and chicken enchiladas near Baylor hospital for years.

When I visited, I opted for the grilled fish taco, which came with a big chunk of white cod and plenty of fluffy green lettuce, not that limpy, wimpy bagged stuff. Warning: beware the Habanero ranch dressing they serve on the side – I’m still feelin’ it.

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After that I enjoyed the Evan, one of their vegetarian selections, which featured a soft wheat tortilla filled with black beans, rice, guac, tomatoes, lettuce and Monterrey jack. There wasn’t as much guacamole as I’d have heaped on, but the black beans were flavorful.

Looking around the room, others were eating brisket tacos, crispy chalupas and The Lester – a soft flour tortilla layered with refried beans wrapped around a crispy sirloin taco. They also have 3 different salads and a queso they call The Disaster, which includes ground sirloin, guacamole and pico de gallo. Breakfast tacos are served all day, and daily specials are just that – available only once a week.

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You can eat inside on wooden-benched booths or tables, or – as I did – linger on the umbrella-ed patio. Both offer free WiFi and great service to keep tables clean and food delivered.

If you’re up for a beverage, the new location serves margaritas & beer and you can belly up to the bar on colorful, retro barstools. A hand-painted mural on the long western wall features scenes of Dallas.

Taco Joint opens at 6:30am M-F, 8am Sat and 9am Sunday. They close at 9pm Sun-Thursday and 10pm on weekends.

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