No matter what time of day it is, you can always go for tacos. A great aspect of North Hollywood is the abundance of delicious taco spots. I decided to try out two specific taco stands, Pablito’s Tacos and Tacos El Venado, and see which one is better.
Some may be questioning why I, someone not of Latin descent, am reviewing tacos. I believe that my lack of experience eating tacos may actually provide a unique perspective to this classic cuisine. I still didn’t want to go in completely blind, so I did some research on what makes a good taco. According to Nick Kindelsperger, a food reporter for the Chicago Tribune, you need a sturdy tortilla that doesn’t easily break in your hands and you need to have a well-seasoned, tender protein. You also need to have fresh toppings and sauces. If these components are well-made and perfectly balanced, you will have the perfect taco. With these components in mind, I was ready to try Tacos El Venado and Pablito’s Tacos.
Tacos El Venado was my first destination. I ordered two al pastor tacos and one carne asada taco. Immediately after ordering, I went straight towards the wide variety of add-ons. Including, but not limited to; guacamole, sour cream, radish, cucumbers, onion, cilantro, and my favorite, pico de gallo. By the time I finished grabbing all of the toppings, my tacos were ready. I removed the foil covering and was hit with a delicious, mouth-watering scent. After adding all of the toppings, I immediately dug in. I started with the al pastor tacos and fell in love.
The meat was very tender and flavorful. It had a slight char to it which brought a light smoky flavor, along with the balance of sweet and salty flavor. The veggies were crisp and the sauces brought the whole taco together. Even with everything I had packed into the taco, the tortilla did not break, which made that much experience better. I then proceeded to eat the carne asada taco, but sadly, the meat was not as juicy and was also a bit tough to eat. I had to add extra sauce so that I could enjoy the rest of the taco. Besides this one flaw, all in all, Tacos El Venado left me satisfied and wanting more.
A couple of days later, I finally went to Pablito’s Tacos and, again, ordered two al pastor tacos and one carne asada taco so I can accurately compare the two taco stands. Compared to Tacos El Venado, there were not as many toppings; there were only radishes, salsa, and peppers. There was also only one sauce called the aji sauce, which is a unique spicy Peruvian green sauce paying homage to the restaurant’s Peruvian cuisine. The tacos looked and smelled delicious. I started with the al pastor taco and I added very little salsa because I wanted the aji sauce to shine. With just one bite, I had already fallen in love with these tacos, and that’s because of the fresh, tart and spicy quality of the aji sauce. The al pastor was cooked to perfection, with a slight smokiness, sweet and salty flavor that all perfectly balanced with the aji sauce. After finishing the al pastor taco, I got the carne asada taco ready, adding the sauce, and dug in. Unlike the carne asada taco at Tacos El Venado, Pablito’s tacos were just right. It was smoky, tender, and succulent. The carne asada taco also paired very well with the aji sauce. Best of all, the tortilla did not break apart.
Selecting a better taco stand was a lot harder than I thought. Both Pablito’s Tacos and Tacos El Venado have many positives. But after considering everything, I find Pablito’s Tacos better than Tacos El Venado. What brought me to this decision was the aji sauce. This sauce had a flavor I had never tried before and I wish I did sooner. Also, the carne asada at Pablito’s was juicer and overall more enjoyable. Still, Tacos El Venado is a great taco stand and I recommend that you try it, however trying Pablito’s Tacos is a must.