A new taqueria opened in San Miguel de Allende a few weeks ago. Not exactly the biggest news on the local culinary scene you might say. But go ahead, name another San Miguel taqueria. Not too many are there?
I can only think of five. Tacos Don Tequila, Baja Fish Taquito, Taco Lab, Tacos Don Manolito and Tacos Don Felix. And you could argue that at least one of those isn’t really a taqueria but a fully fledged Mexican restaurant.
In San Miguel, most tacos are eaten at shiny silver boxes on wheels that are here one hour, gone the next. It’s not difficult to figure out why. A decent amount of bricks and mortar in a decent location is going to cost you a minimum of $30,000 MX (close to $2000 US) a month for rent. Which means selling over a thousand tacos a month just to cover the real estate.
This new taqueria occupies prime real estate, on Zacateros just up from Pila Seca and very close to the new Mercado Del Carmen (which finally may be a new market that actually works).
Upon first glance, the place is a little confusing. Is this a taco joint or a pizza joint? For inside on the left are picnic tables and the words Sabroso Taqueria (tasty taqueria). On the right are tables and chairs and the words Chicago’s Stuffed Pizza.
Now, in my opinion, thick crust, Chicago-style pizza is solely the pride and joy of people from…well, you know where. So my suggestion is to head into the doorway on the left, pass the mouthwatering merry-go-round of juicy red pork that Mexicans call a trompo and, when you notice that the room is a little too fast-food in appearance and a lot too fast-food in light level, look for the stairs at the back.
Those stairs will lead you to a very charming and comfortable rooftop terrace and bar where you can order anything that you can order downstairs.
My first recommendation at Sabroso is a taco from that trompo downstairs, a taco al pastor with pork marinated in chiles, cumin, achiote (where that candy apple red comes from), onion and pineapple. I am very hesitant to use superlatives so I will quote Don Day’s Wife.
“The meat is extraordinary. Some crispy. Some juicy. All of it so rich in taste. And I’ve never had so much pork in a pastor. Love the pineapple chunks on top as well.”
A taco al pastor at a street cart will usually cost either 12 or 15 pesos. The basic pastor is twice the size at Sabroso and comes in at just 20 pesos. Amazing value.
I called the taco al pastor basic because each of the ten taco fillings at Sabroso come in four different styles. Basic, con queso, the seldom seen (in San Miguel) volcán, and costra, a style that I (and Tacopedia, the most comprehensive book ever written about the subject) had never even heard of.
As popular as cheese is in Mexican cuisine, you don’t usually see it on tacos. I’m guessing that’s because taco carts just don’t have an easy way to melt it. Sabroso does and that con queso option really works. The cheese (I’m guessing Oaxacan) is especially good with the arrachera and the taqueria is just as generous with the steak as they are with the pork on the pastor.
Volcánes are tortillas that are deep fried into a cone or volcano shape and then stuffed with cheese. In Mexico City, that stuffing is usually beef. At Sabroso, every one of their fillings is available. The crispy shell is a welcome diversion from the soft tortilla.
“I really like the chorizo”, said Don Day’s Wife. “Not as greasy as Argentinean usually is. It would make a great breakfast sausage.”
For the fourth style option, the costra, Sabroso places a thin layer of cheese on the grill until it’s crispy and golden and then wraps it around the filling.
My recommendation is what is called campechano in Mexico City and toro at Sabroso. It combines chorizo; cecina, the air dried beef; and chicharrón, the deep fried pork skin. I’m not a big fan of chicharrón in a taco because it usually gets very soggy, very quickly. At Sabroso though, it still has a nice crunch.
I mentioned that there are ten different choices of fillings at Sabroso. What is as interesting to me as what’s on the list is what’s not. This is not typical taco cart fare. There’s no cabeza, no lengua. None of the specialty fillings are there either. No barbacoa, no carnitas, no Baja style fish.
What is there should appeal to both local and north of the border tastes: pastor, bistec, rib eye, arrachera, longaniza, chorizo, chicken breast, cecina, pork rib and the combination called toro I mentioned earlier. Plus there are even a few vegetarian choices, at least one of which even I’ve been tempted to try.
A few more things about Sabroso Taqueria. There are three extraordinarily good salsas that come to your table, in traffic light colors, but beware, even the green has a punter’s kick. The most Don Day’s Wife and I have spent on lunch or dinner for two, not including drinks, has been 126 pesos. The rooftop terrace has an abundance of umbrellas to block the sun plus heaters for those chilly nights.
There are two televisions at the bar usually playing soccer, NFL football or wrestling for those who like those things but with the mute always on for those who don’t. The servers are both brisk and charming. The place is open until prime taco hankering time, aka 2:00 am. And, as there is beer, and as beer is a taco’s very best friend, I will leave you with the words of one of my favorite writers, Tom Robbins, from his book Jitterbug Perfume:
“Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer.”
Sabroso Taqueria is located at Zacateros 39 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. They are open from 9:00 am to 2:00 am, seven days a week.