El Tizoncito knows how to serve tacos al pastor. The spit-grilled pork is spicy, and it comes with a ramekin of finely diced pineapple, which brings out the adobo flavor. I tried three tacos — pastor, bistec (steak) and chuleta (pork chop) — and watched the cook make our order on a big round griddle, sort of like a Mexican version of teppanyaki. The other two tacos were OK, but needed lots of the delicious green and red salsa that El Tizoncito serves in squeeze bottles to give them flavor. Tacos al pastor were the winner by a mile. They would be good on their own, but adding pineapple, a squeeze of key lime and a little red salsa makes them heavenly. The tacos are between $1.50 and $2.25 apiece.
My lunch partner ordered the Cuban sandwich. The restaurant serves three or four varieties of tortas, which range from $4.75 to $5.75, and all are served on big bolillos. It came with generous portions of pounded steak, grilled chicken and ham, plus cheese, mashed black beans, avocado, tomatoes, onions and pickled jalapeños. It’s something a little different from the traditional Cuban.
Our orders came with a cup of spicy and delicious black-bean soup with cilantro, onions and beef. That alone is a good enough reason to try this place. We also tasted the tamarind margarita ($5), which was a super sweet and syrupy frozen drink, but the tamarind flavor was strong, and it’s a tasty treat.
El Tizoncito is clean and bright, and it has a cool interior design with a curved bar and a few tables. You also can order from the drive-through. The menu is in Spanish, but don’t be intimidated, gringos. The bilingual servers are friendly and happy to explain anything on the uncomplicated menu, which also includes soups, quesadillas and entrees ranging from $6 to $7.