When it comes to tacos in Fort Worth, I’m something of a loyalist: I live within walking distance of the original Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, near TCU, which for the past decade has been my go-to spot. The ingredients there are consistently fresh; the salsa has a terrific kick; and the tacos themselves strike a nice balance between old school and new. Try the grilled shrimp taco (topped with garlic sauce, cheese, cilantro and feta) or the grilled veggie (filled with julienned carrots, zucchini and squash), and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Little wonder, then, that since the original location opened in 2003, Fuzzy’s has now expanded to eleven states and sixty stores.
For months now, though, friends have been urging me to open my taco horizons – and give a new player in Fort Worth a try.
Torchy’s Tacos is an Austin-based mini-chain that expanded to Fort Worth last winter. Located off Forest Park Blvd., in a new development dubbed “Midtown,” this taco shop offers the same bright atmosphere and counter service as Fuzzy’s. But the menu definitely pushes things in a more nouveau direction – think tacos filled with fried avocado, Jamaican jerk chicken and ahi tuna. I visited on a recent afternoon, to see if it might possibly supplant Fuzzy’s in my heart.
The first thing I noticed: This place was packed, with virtually every table indoors and outside filled, and a line to order more than a dozen deep. Once the food arrives, you quickly understand why. We started with salsa and guacamole – the former sweet with a hint of smoke; the latter a nice balance of creamy and salt. As for the tacos: On paper they sound like they would never work, but in practice they somewhere come together. I was a big fan of the Mr. Pink, which features a lightly spicy piece of seared ahi tuna, topped with cabbage, cilantro, queso fresca and chipotle sauce. (Plus, who doesn’t appreciate a Reservoir Dogs reference during lunch?)
My dining companion went with the baja shrimp taco, a California classic given a Texas twist with pickled jalapenos and onions. We also ordered a side of the "street corn" – fresh grilled corn, off the cob, tossed with chili powder, queso fresco and cilantro; it’s a solid version of the tradional Mexican elote dish. You can finish things off with such confections as deep fried chocolate chip cookies or homemade brownies.
So does Torchy’s measure up to – or, egads, even surpass – my beloved Fuzzy’s? Further visits are necessary to declare a winner, which I’ll be happy to make. As for now, I’ll offer this diplomatic answer: They are both terrific, and just different enough so that there’s clearly room for both at the Fort Worth taco table.