The little blurbs that accompany a business location on Google Maps are sometimes accurate and helpful. The one for Tacos del Julio on Westheimer near the Galleria at Fountain View is not: “Café for standard Tex-Mex fare.” Taqueria del Julio is local taqueria chain that specializes in the street fare of northern Mexico, especially Monterrey, not quite standard Tex-Mex fare. That outpost is the only taqueria in the Galleria area. I stopped in there the other day, my first visit to a Tacos del Julio in years. It was still very good and still something just a bit different, even among the local taquerias.
The menu might be the smallest and most unique of any local taqueria, or any Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant, for that matter. But, nearly everything is appealing for all but the most skittish Tex-Mex food lovers. Many of the offerings are small tacos, dishes that resemble chalupa or maybe just a flat, overstuffed taco, an excellent enchilada dish, flautas, and a bounteous mixed platter, burritos and a tortas.
The meat served here is limited to just shredded, moist beef (carne deshebrada), slowly roasted, seasoned beef (called carne de trompo here, and can be a bit tough), grilled steak, and shredded chicken, but, no goat (cabrito or birria), though. The offerings are a little different, and sport some unusual names such as tacos and tostadas in estilio Siberia. ¿Que? Both of which feature large fried corn tortillas and sour cream. One of the specialties is a dish consisting of a flour tortilla topped with grilled beef, seasoned and shredded beef, mild Chihuahua cheese and avocado. This is also available without one or the other of the toppings. Big appetites might consider the Monterrey 400, which is a bounteous plate of the carne de trompo, grilled steak and several slices of avocado. Tortillas need to be ordered separately for this, though.
Salsas are served in red and yellow plastic squeeze bottles (that were certainly marked as “ketchup” and “mustard” in the restaurant supply store). The slightly smoky red salsa is in the red bottle, the excellent, viscous and fiery green salsa is in the yellow bottle. One molcajete brought to the table contains chopped cilantro and chopped raw onions, and another contains lime quarters, both to complement the tacos. These are for the soup and the dishes that you’ve ordered, as there are no chips, but you do get a complimentary and flavorful soup of charro beans.
For breakfast, they do a fine job with the familiar breakfast tacos with either flour or corn tortillas, and plates including machacado con huevo, create-it-yourself omelets, the American breakfast with pancakes, eggs and bacon and the unusual tacos al vapor. These are small tacos with corn tortillas and filled with a choice of beef, beans or potatoes and steamed. The preparation might be unique, but the result is rather bland. On the weekends, they serve menudo, caldo tlalpeño (a hearty soup with chicken, avocados and chipotles) and “exquisita barbacoa.” At any time, there are a half-dozen beers from which to choose, which are a better bet than the machine-made aguas frescas.
Tacos Del Julio
5887 Westheimer (at Fountain View), 77057, (713) 781-3377