I write a lot about burgers, pizza, wings, and BBQ, but there’s really one food that I crave fairly often. Tacos. Not Taco Bell or Qdoba tacos, but a good steak taco on a corn tortilla with just cilantro.
Early last week, I was traveling along the lakeshore for work and ended up in Grand Haven. I had time to stop and pick up dinner and there’s a taco place I drive by a lot when I’m in that area.
Arturo’s Tacos is right off US-31 which is the way most people come in and out of Grand Haven. Through town, 31 is Beacon Avenue and Arturo’s is on the corner of Beacon and Elliot Avenue. It’s a small shop that was extremely busy when I stopped in around 4:00 on a Monday evening.
My favorite kind of taco shops are just taco shops. I don’t like all the rice and beans that most Mexican places pair with their meals. I like places where I can just order a couple of tacos at a counter and just get tacos and some salsa.
Arturo’s is barely big enough for a dining room. The long, narrow space as less than six tables along one wall.
There’s also a large lunch counter next to the cash register but that was being used mostly for storage. There are big bags of chips for dine in patrons who get chips and salsa with their meals stacked up right next to the cash register.
The menu at Arturo’s is typical for a taqueria. Tacos, burittos, tortas, tostadas. All the things you would expect from a small counter service shop like this. I walked in knowing exactly what I wanted and I zeroed in on that part of the menu.
I put in my order for five steak tacos with just cilantro. They offer the tacos either “Mexican style” with cilantro and onion or “American style with lettuce and tomato. I chose Mexican style but left the onions off entirely.
My bill came out to around $12 which I paid for with my credit card then I took a seat at one of the empty tables until more people started coming in. Food was moving pretty quickly out of the kitchen, but there were a lot of people waiting. I eventually got up and went to stand in an open area so a family could have the table I was tying up.
It took a little less than ten minutes for my order to come up from the kitchen. The cashier grabbed the box and asked if I wanted hot sauce. I chose the “hot” sauce and she threw a couple of small containers into a bag along with napkins.
I couldn’t wait to get back to work with my bag of tacos. I could smell them the whole drive back to Grand Rapids from Grand Haven and considered just trying to eat them in the car.
The five tacos were all packed into a Styrofoam container. Each of them consisting of two grilled corn tortillas filled with finely chopped steak and cilantro.
I made the mistake of asking for hot sauce when I really wanted the medium. It’s not because I can’t handle I hot but more because I don’t really like the flavor of the green chile’s that make most places hot sauce. I prefer the red sauce which is almost always the medium.
Despite not being a huge fan of the hot sauce, I put it on the tacos anyway. The meat on these tacos was a little different than I’m used to. It was steak, but it was chopped pretty finely. It almost had the texture of ground beef but a little bit thicker of a grind. It was very tender beef with a good, but not very strong flavor. There was just enough cilantro on each taco to add a little bit of freshness to each bite.
Tacos really are one of the most perfect foods. It’s like a flavorful little sandwich where every piece of it would be good on it’s own. Arturo’s Tacos didn’t quite stack up to my favorite taco place, but they’re still great place with delicious tacos in a tourist town that needs a good variety of quick service foods.