Friday, July 20, 2012

La Nueva Fresh And Hot: Come for the Tortillas and Bring a Fan - Dallas Observer (blog)

La Nueva Front.jpg
I visited La Nueva Fresh and Hot twice before I added their guisado verde taco to the 100 Favorite Dishes list and there's a lot more than green pork tacos to make a visit worth it. In fact, the Webb Chapel road tortilla factory and take-out may be one of Dallas' most compelling taquerias.

The "Hot" in the restaurant's name, however, really should be emphasized. And note, I'm not describing piquancy here, I'm talking about the ambient room temperature experienced when you walk though the gaping front door. It's always hot in this tiny store front, especially when the tortilla machine is twittering and squeaking away, but two weekends ago the air conditioning that only cools the kitchen portion of the restaurant was broken. It was like a sauna inside.

La Nueva Roja and Tacos.jpg
Guisada rojo, and verde tacos and gordita
Even when the AC is working it's hotter than a
Trinidad Scorpion, here, but if the heat is necessary to turn out some of Dallas' best tortillas then it's worth it. They're not made with freshly ground corn, but the tortillas are freshly made and light and fluffy.

I watched the machine spit out one after the other and asked the sweaty counter girl how many tortillas they'd made a day. Six hundred pounds worth sometimes, she said. I thought she was bullshitting, but then looked at the mountain of 50-pound bags of masa against the wall and counted out 12 of them. It's possible. This place makes a lot of tortillas. And all the while the squeaking tortilla machine was cranking away.

They make salsa too. While you wait for your food and sip on a Topo Chico (and sweat) you can spoon five varieties into corn chips that are available for the taking. The best by far is a roasted chili salsa, green with flecks of black, charred skin. Each is available to take home in small plastic containers.

While the grilled meat tacos (steak, fajitas etc) struck me as tough and uninspired the rest of the menu was on par with the better taquerias in Dallas, with tortillas that rank among the best. Be sure to order a tostada or seven while you're there as well. The kitchen fries up day-old corn tortillas and the results are thick, sturdy and crisp. They're a bitch to keep off your face while you eat, but the mess is worth it. And it's not like this is the kind of place where you worry about a little salsa on your shirt. There's not a single table, so you're probably eating in your car anyway.

You are eating in your car, right? And it has its own air conditioning that's in good working order? I wasn't joking about the heat. The last time I went it was 96 degrees outside according to my iPhone. When I walked outside of the stifling taquaria with my taco bounty in tow, that first blast of warm summer air felt absolutely refreshing.

La Nueva Tostada.jpg
Don't pass up the tostadas. The thick crunchy shells are perfect.
La Nueva Hot and Fresh Guisada verde.jpg
Guisada verda bliss
La Nueva Tortilla Machine.jpg
This thing belches heat like a furnace and drops a new tortilla every other second.
La Nueva Menu 1.jpg
So many options
La Nueva Menu 2.jpg
Meats available for tacos, tostadas, burritos and more

La Nueva Fresh & Hot

9625 Webb Chapel Road, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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