I’ve done a decent amount of travel around Dallas as part of my own personal taco crusade. But unfortunately, my taco radar is pretty much dark across the taco dense region just east of Harry Hines and north of Northwest Highway. A few establishments have crossed my path in this area, but one experience in particular which involved a tiny, no-name roadside taqueria, lack of electricity and refrigeration and a putrid, spoiled pork barbacoa taco, has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I rarely adventure there these days.
Luckily, I was redirected back to the area by the highly respected taco tycoon, Jose Ralat-Maldonado of Taco Trail fame. When this dude tells you to make a trip somewhere, it’s best not to question his authority. This particular outing brought me to a previously unheard of joint called La Nueva Fresh and Hot. I am a sucker for fresh, I’m a sucker for hot, I’m even a sucker for neuva. How could I go wrong? I couldn’t.
Read on amigos…
When one enters the indiscrete, strip-mall tortilla shop of La Nueva Fresh and Hot, there is an immediate barrage of smells and sounds. The aroma of freshly ground corn permeates the air as the incessant whir and grind of a conveyor-belt tortilla press nearly makes conversation within the shop impossible. A plume of hot air from the machinery and stovetops slaps you across the face a few times as you walk through the door. This place is not striving for atmosphere, don’t expect anyone to tuck your chair in or gently place a black silk napkin across your lap, La Nueva just wants to stuff you full of delicious tacos and they don’t care how that gets done.
What convinced me to sample La Nueva in the first place was the promise of exceptional pork guisado tacos, a personal favorite of mine, composed of stewed meats in rich, hearty sauces. La Nueva’s may be the best I’ve sampled for years.
Guisado tacos come in two varieties at La Nueva, pork verde and pork rojo. The verde version incorporates tender, succulent pork stewed in a blend of sweet tomatillos and peppers and with a surprisingly spicy finish. The rojo version is laced with strips of cactus to give an earthy, slightly tart flavor to the stewed pork meat. Each guisado comes nestled in soft corn or flour tortillas, that couldn’t get much fresher, or hotter for that matter. Both were exquisite, but for me, I think the verde really stole the show.
La Nueva Fresh and Hot is the epitome of a hidden gem, a place that certainly deserves more attention from loyal tacoists in this city. It may be a bit off the beaten path, but you know how Robert Frost felt about taking the road less traveled. And that dude knew his tacos.
La Nueva Fresh and Hot
9625 Webb Chapel Rd.