Editor's note: TheaterJones begins a new bi-weekly feature, Dinner and a Show, in which we will pair a performing arts event in North Texas with a nearby restaurant, so you can make a night of your arts going. The restaurant reviews are written by Kelly Kirkendoll, a longtime North Texas public relations guru and food blogger who has the Kitchen Gone Rogue blog, where she writes about the local dining scene and shares recipes and other tips. The "show" part of this feature will be written by a TheaterJones arts writer. Look for this column every other Thursday.
First up, we're going to one of our favorite neighborhoods in the DF-Dub, Oak Cliff, and specifically the Bishop Arts District.
by Langston Hughes
Dec. 6-23, 2018
Presented by Bishop Arts Theatre Center
Address: 215 S. Tyler St., Dallas
Directed by Selmore B. Haines III
Langston Hughes' seminal musical is a holiday favorite, and this production marks the 15th year for Bishop Arts Theatre Center to produce it. It uses spoken word, song, music, dance and theater to retell the Nativity Story. It's always a treat.
— Mark Lowry
Taco y Vino
Address: 213 W. Eighth St., Dallas, in Bishop Arts District
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Parking: a nice-sized parking lot (free) right next to the restaurant plus street parking
Distance from the show venue: An easy five-minute drive
Pairing upscale street tacos with wine in a cozy craftsman home, Taco y Vino — a newer addition to the Bishop Arts restaurant lineup — is a great spot to grab dinner and a drink before the show. It’s tucked away from the busy beaten path of Davis St., and it’s only a five-minute drive from the Bishop Arts Theatre Center.
Built in the 1940s, this Oak Cliff home has been beautifully transformed into a quaint, casual restaurant and wine bar. It’s even decorated for the holidays. Festive lights, garland and a ribbon-wrapped porch greet you outside, and an upside-down Christmas tree awaits you inside.
Most important, however, is the food. Or, perhaps, the wine. There’s no need to debate this because both hit the mark and offer something for everyone. And if you aren’t a wine lover, there are local beers on tap and non-alcoholic beverages as well. They also keep each table well-supplied with water.
At first glance, the menu is relatively simple, with a few appetizers, a couple desserts and, for the main course, your choice of eight tacos. You can mix and match these at three for $9.50. If enchiladas are your jam, you can order any taco option as an enchilada at $6.25 each. Also, check the board or ask your server for specials.
I tried four of the eight tacos: the Blackened Baja (a catfish taco, my second favorite), the Vegan Chorizo (a special replacing the Jackfruit taco at the time I visited), the Fried Avocado (my favorite) and the Cochinita Pibil, which features pulled pork braised in pineapple (not pictured).
For an appetizer, I wanted to try the ceviche, but they were out. My disappointment was short-lived because I ordered the tortilla soup instead. Made with the chicken tinga broth (chicken tinga tacos are on the taco menu), it’s a generous bowl of hot soup with plenty of chicken, veggies and rice topped with avocado and a sprinkling of chips. Not only is it delicious, but its salty broth soothed the sore throat I had at the time and was enough for a full meal by itself. I took half of it to go so that I would have room for what I came for—tacos! A small cup of the soup would be a welcome addition to the starter menu.
Taco y Vino’s wine list isn’t extensive, but it’s well-crafted with a great selection by glass and bottle. I ordered (and loved) a glass of the house tempranillo ($8).
Caution to the coffee lovers: there’s a French press coffee on the menu, but don’t get your hopes up. They don’t carry it. I wish they would…or take it off the menu. It’s not nice to tease us java enthusiasts like that!
Taco y Vino is a small place (with extra seating on the patio if it’s warm enough), so if you have a large party, I suggest you call ahead. Also, it’s probably not the best place for babies or toddlers. Almost every seat inside is a high top, and there were no high chairs or booster seats in sight.
Go for the tacos and stay for the wine. Or go for the wine and stay for the tacos. Either way, you can’t go wrong if you stop in for dinner before the show.
» View more pictures from Taco y Vino by clicking the slideshow icon in the floating menu at the lower left of your screen
» You can also read Kelly's review of Taco y Vino on her blog, Kitchen Gone Rogue, which has additional photos.