July 11th, 2011
Greatfull Taco: Fill Up Your Spaceship
In further exploring my neighborhood, I’ve run across a lot of places that are well-established, community favorites. They already have their own smells, their own staff attitudes, and their tables have already been covered in Sharpie and steak knife graffiti. For a newbie to carve out a niche, they have to offer something of real quality. Let us give thanks for Greatfull Taco.
The location really can’t be beat. At 2411 S. Shepherd, their sign is a neon beacon bright enough to draw visitors like moths to a flame. Parking has been fine thus far, but we’ll see how GT handles future crowds that I guarantee you will show up. It’s a good thing I can walk.
Best part about the inside is that they don’t force the character. Sure, they’ve got the Grateful Dead thing going on, but they don’t beat you over the head with it. It’s easy enough for casual places that want to engrain themselves to buy pre-rusted tin for the roof, neon signs for beer they don’t even serve and kitschy crap to throw on the walls, but GT refrains. The badges of Shepherd honor- the wobbly table legs you have to prop up with Sweet-n-Low packets, the damp corner from a hurricane leak, and the weird regular with one eye will come in good time. For now, the space is clean, the wood is polished and all big-screens work fine, making Greatfull Taco a decent date spot on top of its food-on-the-fly charm. “I swear it’s not another sports bar, honey.”
The food is excellent. Priced fairly and big enough so two tacos does the trick, after only a couple of visits, I’ve already started playing favorites. Greatfull Taco’s Mystery Meat recipe (which is quickly exposed as buffalo) is tucked in a crispy shell within a soft shell, but it’s a far cry from a Taco Bell monstrosity. Topped with a nest of sweet sauerkraut, the combination simultaneously melts in your mouth and dances on your tongue. Their take on jerk chicken is advertised as “spicy”, but those kind of warnings are usually posted for gringos that have to have water after a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Grateful Taco means it. The jalapeno slaw and house-blend sauce will light you up. Wiping the humidity from my brow on the patio grew in to a full-blown, uncontrollable sloppy sweat after the second bite. Which is when Greatfull Taco’s extensive beer selection came in real handy.
In my opinion, GT’s brew selection is a little on the heavy side. Maybe I’m just imagining this, but it seems like a disproportionate number of their beers are IPA’s or Porters, which aren’t really my taste in mid-July. Then again, maybe I just need to quit being a Nancy, and drink up. Chances are though, there’s a beer at Grateful Taco to suit your fancy (double wheat Shiner 102 quickly became one of my favorite summer beers chasing the blazing jerk chicken). They also have a big wine list if that’s your thing.
Sticking with the Grateful Dead homage, Greatfull Taco has a 70’s night, but I forget when it is because I don’t really care. They’ve also got an electric vehicle charging station coming soon for Houston’s three electric cars. I kid… Google says there are at least twice that many. Whether you visit Greatfull Taco for nostalgia of some kind or to fill up your spaceship, it will be the tacos and ice cold beer that keep you coming back for more.