Sunday, April 26, 2009

La Verdad taco battle royal: steak v. lengua, pescado v. chorizo

My spring project: trying all the taco options at La Verdad until one emerges victorious.

It's crazy that I'd only been to La Verdad once, considering how close it is to Fenway Park (and by extension, my office).

One side is a restaurant, which would be a nicer place to sit outside were it not for the fact that you're looking at the utilitarian grunge of Lansdowne Street; the other side is a cozy, bright, four-table cafe/takeout counter.





The taquería menu is small and perfectly formed (this is only part of it):



But how to decide which tacos to order? Yaaagh! The only correct action would be to work through all of them and find a favorite.

Thus begins my project.

That first visit, I went for a carne asada and a lengua.

Carne asada:



Skirt steak was fantastic, juicy and well seasoned, though the accompanying spicy sauce (made with chiles de arbol) was a little more picante than I like, and overwhelmed the subtleness of the lovely meat. (Mind you, this from someone who doesn't put dressing on salad because she wants to be able to taste greens, not Italian Ranch.)

Lengua:



The tongue was well done but a little bland; in this case, the salsa arbol helped (though, again, perhaps a little too enthusiastically). Diced red onion gave a nice crunch.

Winner: Taco de carne asada

This week, I went back to try a couple more: pescado y chorizo



(Given my salad-dressing preferences, you can probably guess which one is the winner.)

Fish:



What you see above isn't fish; it's a wedge of cabbage leaf covered in salsa and a spicy mayonnaise. Hidden below a couple of these was a small but lovely piece of flaky fried fish—could have been cod or hake, I couldn't tell—which almost made up for the extravagance of sauces.

Chorizo:



A fantastically salty, greasy, out-of-a-can chorizo, mixed with cubed potato and finished with a bright fistful of fresh cilantro. A mark of greatness: when I lifted the taco out of its box, there was a puddle of neon-orange achiote oil.

Oh, I think we have a decision.

Winner: Taco de chorizo y papas.

I should also make mention here of the tortillas themselves. While I waited for my order, I got to watch one of the kitchen staff empty a bag of masa flour into a bowl, add water, and start blending the two together by hand. A stack of freshly pressed tortillas sat on the workstation next to her. And they are, by the way, fantastic.


More to come.

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