Like the best food trucks, El Bandolero Tacos y Mariscos doesn’t have a huge menu. It doesn’t need one. What it does have is flavor to spare, whether you’re trying the lengua or the pork birria. And it’s made to order while you wait.
Who can resist slivers of marinated pork al pastor style heaped high on tiny corn tortillas and then topped with fresh onions, cilantro and slices of radish? I’ve had more a few of those as a late-night snack on those evening when, no matter the hour, it’s just too early to turn in.
The truck, which parks in front of the H-E-B car wash at Nacogdoches and O’Connor roads in the evenings, offers Zacatecas cuisine with tortas, burritos and quesadillas in addition to tacos.
I’m sure the folks who run it, the Soriano Espinoza family, according to its business cards, sell more bistec mini-tacos than anything, but the real treat are the tacos de camaron, usually offered on the weekends. Fresh shrimp, as firm and sweet as you can imagine, are cooked on the griddle until bright pink and bursting with briny flavor. Sautéed onions are tossed into the blend before fresh pico de gallo is sprinkled on top. Slabs of fresh avocado are served on the side and the whole dish is crowned with white cheese. The cost is a relatively higher $3 apiece, but it is worth every last penny.
If you are getting an order to go, the perfume of seafood, cheese and smoked peppers from the salsa should overwhelm you before you get it home.
Ceviche and shrimp cocktail are also on the menu, but I can’t get past the shrimp tacos enough to give them a try.
The side of the truck advertises fresas con crema, one of my all-time favorite desserts. But it hasn’t been available recently, because the strawberries are no longer in season, I was told. Apparently, the berries in the market now aren’t good enough, which I would unfortunately have to agree with, no matter how low the price drops.
If there’s not enough selection for you at El Banolero, wait about three weeks. The owners say they’re opening a sit-down restaurant at nearby 14040 Nacogdoches Road. More seafood items will be on the menu, and if they are anywhere near as good as the shrimp tacos, I’ll be there.
El Bandolero Tacos y Mariscos
Nacogdoches Road at O’Connor Road