It’s tempting to compare this modern Piedras Negras with the old version from 10 or so years ago but it wouldn’t be wise.
The old taco cart stayed open til 4 am, made homemade tortillas and featured lumberjack portions of some of the finest Mexican food in town. And it did so at prices that were cheap even by those halcyon days’ standards.
So it’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I approach Piedras Negras #2 earlier today.
I know that all the old standards have been shoved to the side in favor of easier and more profitable business models….but I’m hungry and I need a taco to sustain me.
I’m happy to report that a perfectly respectable barbacoa taco can be found here even at this late date.
Walking up to the window, taquera Margarita takes a break from scrubbing a big metal pan to inquire as to my needs. I order my barbacoa taco and stroll about the grounds in the Autumn sunshine reminiscing to myself about the glories of the old Dos Hermanos cafe that used to stand right here before the fire burned the legendary cafe to the ground.
The taco comes on doubled up, oiled and grilled commercial corn tortillas. The quality of the tortillas is negligible. All the same, the head meat is good and very lean with the slightly musky flavor of better barbacoas everywhere. At $2 it is quite expensive but the portion size is plump.
The real star however is the salsa. The dull green color gives no evidence of the heat it’s packing. This is the hottest salsa I’ve had in Austin in recent memory with both upfront and finishing capsicum blasts to the palate. It’s not a tomatilla base but is merely a purée of hot green chiles. It’s a one note sauce but that one note carries its’ flavor burden nicely.
Northwest Corner of Cesar Chavez
And Pleasant Valley
About the Stars:
4 **** Extraordinary, life changing
3 *** Excellent
2 * Very good
1 * Good
0 * Mediocre to Acceptable
Quality, price, service and ambiance are all taken into account when rating