El Camino, Elgin’s tac-o the town
It baffles me to think that while this tiny, upbeat, subterranean taco and tequila bar has secured the number one talk of the town spot on urbanspoon for nearly a year, it took me almost that long to try it for myself. Due to its growing popularity and small space, don’t be surprised if you show up on what appears to be a quiet Tuesday night and end up on their text list (yes - the hostess will actually IM you when your table is ready so you have the luxury of strolling down Elgin while you wait). Which is precisely what I did….after trying a shot off of their impressive tequila menu of course.
Once I got seated, I was too distracted by the trendy atmosphere and open facing kitchen to even glance at the menu (which was no problem since I knew exactly what to order after reading several reviews). At 5 dollars each, you really have no excuse but to try multiple taco varieties. I ordered the pulled pork, beef, crispy fish…and yes, of course I had to try their famous ox tongue taco. Homemade chewy tortillas are assembled with crispy, tangy slaw and a hefty portion of your protein choice. The ox tongue was surprisingly tender and was cooked in a unique, bitter marinade. On my next visit to El Camino, I will make a point of ordering off the ‘Not Tacos’ menu- this will definitely include the shrimp dumplings which I can only assume live up to the unsurpassed quality of this unique and exciting restaurant. Website: eatelcamino.com Location: 380 Elgin Street