Dish of the Week: Surfside’s birria tacos

Media Credit: Serena Lum | Photographer

Most birria tacos are dipped in the au jus before being grilled, but Surfside serves this saucy broth on the side.

Surfside, a Baja California inspired local restaurant chain, serves up tropically influenced Mexican grub all day, everyday.

Located at 1800 N St. NW in Dupont, Surfside’s 24-hour taco stand is just a 20-minute walk from the center of campus, making for a convenient late night food run or stop on the way back from a night out clubbing. With a window to order and pick up food from and no indoor seating, this taco stand operates more like a food truck than a typical restaurant.

The stand’s facade is framed with light-washed wood paneling and decorated with a blue surfboard-shaped sign that reads ‘Surfside’ in yellow cursive letters. When you walk up, you’ll see two windows, one to order at and one to pick up your food with the menu displayed above and between them.

If you’re on a quick lunch break or are too hungry to wait to get home to eat your food, you can sit at one of the four small tables on the sidewalk in front of Surfside. The limited seating can fill up quickly, so don’t count on a place to sit.

In addition to its 10 taco options, the menu also features burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and salads. To feed up to seven people, check out the restaurant’s fajita boxes which range from $79 to $115 depending on the protein or the nacho box ($39.95) that serves eight to 10 people.

Open 24 hours a day, you can find breakfast options on the menu like the mackinac burrito ($8.95) with scrambled eggs, refried beans, bacon, hash browns, jack cheese and yellow rice. To sample dishes that nod to Baja California’s tropical flavors, order the nevis tacos ($11.95) with grilled shrimp, yellow rice, pineapple-mango salsa, cilantro, guacamole and lime crema.

I decided to try a dish I’ve never had before, birria tacos, which have recently become popular on social media. At $15.95, the birria tacos are the most expensive on the menu, but it’s well worth the price for the two tacos and a cup of Yucatan au jus sauce for dipping and yellow rice that accompany the meal.

For these tacos, two large soft corn tortillas are filled with shredded beef brisket which was braised in the Yucatan au jus, jack cheese, diced sweet onions and cilantro. Like a quesadilla, these tacos get toasted up on the grill until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese is melted.

Most birria tacos are dipped in the au jus before being grilled, but Surfside opts to just serve this saucy broth on the side.

The corn tortillas had a nice nutty and mildly sweet flavor with a pleasant chewiness that prevented any tearing while I ate the tacos. The braised beef was incredibly tender and completely saturated with the intense savory and smoky flavor of the broth it was cooked in.

The broth was well seasoned but not too salty with complex notes of smoked chili, a tomato-y acidic flavor and savory beef. The broth was so tasty that after I finished my tacos, I ate the leftover broth-like soup.

I recommend using every bit of the lime wedge served with the tacos for a fresh and tangy finishing flavor. I added some El Yucatecho green hot sauce from the complimentary self-serving hot sauce selection and ordered a side of pineapple-mango salsa ($.95) that I mixed in with my fluffy yellow rice.

For a late-night sweet treat, you can order tres leches cake or flan for $4.95 each. This Surfside location also recently acquired a liquor license so you can now order a spicy or regular margarita ($12) or from a selection of bottled beers ($6).

When Taco Bell doesn’t seem up to par with your late night taco cravings, check out Surfside’s taco stand in Dupont.

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