Fill up on breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, burritos and more at Taco Street and your day will be a bit brighter. Just be careful with the orange salsa — it may be the spiciest in the city.
Among streets beloved enough to get name-checked in song, you’ll find Beale Street, Bourbon Street and Sesame Street. The Rainier Valley is now home to Taco Street — and while it’s a restaurant rather than a street, it deserves a song or two. Tucked in the corner of a strip mall a few steps from the Othello stop on Link light rail, Taco Street’s electric yellow walls bring sunshine to Seattle’s gloom, while its kind service and outstanding food will add two decided bright spots to an average day.
The Perez family opened up shop in March and has been slowly adding to the menu since, including an application for beer and wine service, posted in April and inspiring dreams of weekend micheladas. With early hours and a handy location for transit commuters, there’s steady takeout business even on Saturday mornings; call your order in if you’re rushed for time. Pause to hit the salsa bar — except for the smothered burritos, nothing comes dressed.
The menu: Choose from tacos, burritos, tortas or platters, with a choice of six meats; vegetarian options are whole beans or sautéed vegetables. The breakfast menu adds eggs and potatoes to the fillings, along with chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. Corn tortillas are available, but the flour tortillas are better, as suits a family-owned taqueria with roots in Chihuahua, Mexico. Note that the burritos aren’t Mission-style, so they aren’t packed with rice. There’s still plenty of filling, and it feels right to have meats like the chewy-crisp carnitas and just-salty-enough carne asada be the center of attention.
7136 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., No. 102, (Rainier Valley) Seattle; open Monday-Saturday 6 a.m.- 8 p.m.; 206-659-0583, facebook.com/TacoStreetMLK
Don’t miss: At breakfast, José Perez (he’s the owner, which means it’s probably him taking your order and bringing your food) recommended the chilaquiles with over-easy eggs. He is wise in the way of breakfast; every bite of the chips with smooth green chili sauce and side of refried beans was eaten, including those bites eaten by people who had declared themselves full. The rich, lightly spiced horchata is excellent; you can have a dollop added to your coffee. (José did not charge for this, but mentioned his sister-in-law would have requested 50 cents. It’s a worthy upgrade.) Of all the tasty proteins at dinner, the chopped carne asada stood out by combining well-seared edges with succulent juiciness.
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The accessories: Three house-made salsas, plus pickled red onions, lime wedges, pickled carrots and peppers, and a mix of minced onion and fresh cilantro are available from the bar. The green salsa has a mild tomatillo base; the dark red is smokey and rates a medium to medium-ouch depending on the day. The smooth orange salsa is possibly the hottest in the city. It is fruity and horrendously, eye-wateringly painful in equal parts. José said they thought it was too spicy and stopped making it, until people complained. Know your limits.
Prices: Two breakfast tacos ($3 each), chilaquiles ($7.50), coffee ($1.50) made a $15 breakfast for two, plus tax and tip. Two dinner tacos ($2.75 each), burrito ($8), and two horchatas ($2.50) added up to $18.50 for dinner for two.