by Danielle Leahy photos by Jacque Manaugh
Taqueria Pinocho is a true hole-in-the-wall style taco shop. Located in East Dallas off Carroll and Main Street we were surprised to see a large dining area with more than adequate seating available for families or large groups. With all their meats on display through the glass case and waiting to be chosen and cut, Taqueria Pinocho can handle large crowds of people and large numbers of tacos in a relatively short amount of time.
With a huge selection, consisting of all the regular street taco choices and a few more unusual ones to boot, the biggest obstacle to over come was the all Spanish menu. Luckily we found everyone behind the counter at Pinocho to be more than willing to help us and very excited to share their food.
Choosing the three taco plate with beans and rice the first thing you notice about the tacos from Taqueria Pinocho is how rich they all are. Because the meats are kept ‘hot and ready’ on steam trays all of them came soaked in sauces and spices in order to keep the meat from drying out over the day, leading to incredibly deep and flavorful tacos.
We tried the chicken, al pastor and carnitas and found them all to be well seasoned and tasty, with it’s own unique flavor. They do not just duplicate the same sauce and pour it over everything, each taco had it’s own hand crafted flavor that perfectly highlighted the meat it was seasoning. Other Tacobots reported back that the lengua and other organ meats have great texture as well as taste (except for the pork skin taco, that was a little squishy).
The rice and beans were a great counter point and the fresh pineapple juice, while a little on the light side, was still just the right mix of sweet tanginess to wash it all down. Bryanbot brought his own homemade salsa (made with ghost peppers and Devil’s Blood just to name a few ingredients) and was so unbelievably please-pray-for-me-Jesus hot that even a few of the workers bought a couple containers off him and then the rest of the staff ended up stumbling wide-eyed and red-faced out of the back to meet the man who’d made the stuff.
As with any authentic taqueria, the ambiance is half the fun. From the vintage racehorse and stables lining the walls to the Tejano music blasting from the jukebox in 15 minute intervals and causing the kitchen staff to break out into impromptu dance-offs, this place is the kind of casual, carnival like fun you look from in a great taco stand.
The friendly, smiling, staff is quick to jump in on a joke or offer suggestions and got just as much of a kick explaining some of the meats to the less informed Bots as they did having a chuckle at some of the girls when the actual part of the animal they were talking about dawned on them.
Let’s not forget the best part, this place is cheap. So if you are in East Dallas and need 20-30 tacos quick and all without breaking the bank the Tacobots highly recommend Taqueria Pinocho. But don’t just take our word for it, let your conscience be your guide.