PEORIA — Taco Tuesdays — and several other days of the week — got a little more interesting this year with the addition of a new taco establishment in Downtown Peoria earlier this spring.
Something 2 Taco 'Bout joined the 600 block of Main Street in March as a new project by Raul Salazar, the head chef of Noir Tapas Lounge in Peoria Heights. Previous food service ventures at the walk-up window generally catered to the late-night revelers of Downtown, but Something 2 Taco 'Bout also offers weekday lunch service and evening hours in addition to the early-morning food for Main Street carousers.
From my limited observations, a good chunk of the new taco place's customers get their orders to go or as a delivery. They do, however, have outside sidewalk seating at lunch and in the early evening, the latter being the time a guest and I recently visited Something 2 Taco 'Bout for a Tuesday dinner.
Plastered on the exterior of the eatery is the menu, divvied up into a few categories — tacos, tortas, burritos, nachos and the lone outlier, gourmet hot dogs. The cashier behind the window gave a comprehensive breakdown of the menu and then graciously added in some of the specials that day.
One such special stopped me dead in my tracks as I was perusing the menu. On Tuesdays, in observance of Taco Tuesdays, one can order a flight of five different tacos that samples all five meat choices — chorizo, beef, pork, chicken and steak — for a mere $10. That was all I needed to hear as I threw in a side of queso fundido ($6) to round out my order. My guest ordered the chicken burrito ($10), and we also added the elote ($4) as an appetizer.
Something 2 Taco 'Bout doesn't serve alcohol but does offer sodas and a couple of Mexican-style drinks. Unfortunately our first choice, horchata, was not available when we ordered it. So our cashier recommended the aguas frescas ($3), a sweet and light mixture of water and hibiscus tea flavor.
We sat at outdoor seating awaiting our order, which arrived to our table in surprising speed for the two-person operation running the eatery that night. First came the queso fundido, a cheesy dip topped with seasoned beef and surrounded with multi-color corn chips. The queso wasn't too heavy, and the combination of beef and chips made the dish into a minimal version of nachos that was no less tasty.
In quick succession, the tacos and burritos supplanted the queso on the table. The tacos are prepared Mexican street-style and topped with diced onions and sprigs of cilantro along with a lime garnish. I savored each one in no particular order, exploring the flavors packed into each meat.
None of the tacos could be considered bland as each contained seasoning and distinct tastes, like the light smokiness of the chorizo taco and the juicy bites of shredded steak. Along with those two, I also would place the pork taco among my favorites.
My guest reported that the chicken burrito was solid, if not a little unspectacular, but also included refried beans that my guest asked not be part of the burrito.
The only other hiccup was that the elote, or grilled corn, didn't make it out to the table. When we reminded the cashier, she profusely apologized and made sure it was ready for us to take home. She also offered a buy-one get-one free certificate as a gesture of goodwill.
In the end, Something 2 Taco 'Bout aims for simplicity but scores big in executing that simple premise. It doesn't have to — any old food would probably suffice for the customers that eat there. But the tacos count as some of the best in central Illinois and deserve a try, whether that's at lunch, dinner or at the conclusion of a night on the town.
Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3262 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch.