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Tex Tubb's Taco Palace

DSCF6030In a word: Just messing with you.

The specs: #0656  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Taste Test Madison, The Sabertoothed Anteater, A Sconnie Eats, The Rambling Astrologer, Yelp, The Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, Trip Advisor, Eat Drink Madison; video at Madison Dining; official web site, Tex Tubb's Taco Palace on Urbanspoon

Latest Tex Tubb's Taco Palace news and reviews

JM ate the el pastor & pineapple tacos with a Mexican Coke.
Nichole ate the cobb-o-wabo taco.
We split some guac, queso and chips.
The bill was $17, or $8.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Tex Tubb's Taco Palace a B; Nichole gave Tex Tubb's Taco Palace a C- (see our grading rubric).

Like many Food Fight ventures, Tex Tubb's Taco Palace is not so much an eatery as a simulacrum of an eatery, which is great if you like the theme. And like all Food Fight ventures, it's familiar enough to most people in Madison that we feel like we can let ourselves write this post in an even more impressionistic (read: lazy) style than usual.*

Tex Tubb's is beloved - the place was hopping on this Friday night. A tween's birthday party was having fun while their folks chaperoned from a respectful two-table distance.

A $6 basket of chips with two sides was huge. The mountain of chips was almost definitely from a bag but we couldn't ID the brand. The chips had a nutty flavor that came from an ingredient other than the corn, oil, and salt in the mass-market ones we're more familiar with. The queso was appropriately Velveety. The guac had a good onion, tomato and cilantro garnish.

Queso, guac and chips

There are a number of culinarily creative tacos on the menu. JM's taco with pineapple Jarritos-braised pork had a zingy, peppy flavor. The (basmati with chili powder) rice and (thermally hot, salty, but bland) beans were not to his liking, and since we'd gorged on chips, were not exactly worth the extra $2.

Calling a taco "cobb-o-wabo" is problematic. +1 for cleverness, -10^6 for cultural tin ear. Just because Sammy Hagar said it first doesn't make it any more OK than speeding.

The taco itself was fine. Lettuce, tomato, smoked chicken, egg, bacon bits, cheese - it's a Cobb salad on a flour tortilla. Haha, wait, that is funny!

El pastor & pineapple taco, rice & beansCobb-o-wabo

Tex Tubb's is bright and funky, but very much in-your-face. And if that's for you, that's for you. It's just not often for us.

*Nichole may not be the right person to ask for an objective opinion about Tex Tubb's tacos anyway. Austin-style anything usually just reminds her of living in a non-Austin-style part of Texas and not giving a damn about themed tacos.


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Overall I have to agree with Nichole on this one----the food here is fair to poor. Tacos are always dry and underseasoned, fish tacos often have unpleasant fishy flavor and are overpriced, and their enchiladas have terrible sauce.

The bright spot on the menu, and it's actually a very bright spot, is their chips and salsa. They offer something like 4-5 options with unlimited refills at the Atwood location, and the chips are fresh and tasty. Their breakfast tacos on the weekend are also pretty good, especially with their salsa, but I mean it's just scrambled eggs and potato in a tortilla. Overall a major pass.

funniest review yet.

They recently changed their chips to an inferior version. They used to have very fresh, thin chips, the same served at El Dorado, but last time we went there they tasted bagged, much to our disappointment.
The one thing that doesn't disappoint is the Atwood burrito. Simple, but with good spice. It's the only thing I've really enjoyed there, so now I stick with it.
Their small tables are annoying too. Especially if you get chips & salsa, entrees and drinks. There's just not enough room.

There's been a serious decline in quality at Taco Tubbs over the past few months. While everything wasn't always stellar, it was a pretty decent place, as long as you knew what to order. Now it seems like a mess (new menu) and everything we tried on a recent visit was sub-par (fajitas and tacos), except the salsa. Also, I do not believe they are serving weekend breakfast anymore which is really too bad because their breakfast tacos and migas were really quite good. Also, on a recent visit, the service was terrible, and drinks seemed even more overpriced. We will not be retuning unless we hear there is new management...

We were fans of Tex Tubbs when we lived in the Atwood area but definitely agree that it took a big downturn with the new menu. We've since moved to Austin and obviously get much better "Austin style" tex-mex. Though honestly all we've noted about tex-mex here in Austin is that there's a (justified) city-wide obsession with breakfast tacos. If they're not serving breakfast anymore then they're moving away from their stated identity. We won't be back when we visit Madison next.

Dec. 2011 new appetizers inventive with lively flavors (though may not be Tex- or Mex- or Austin-authentic). Sweet corn and cheddar fritters are like hush puppies from heaven; crispy brown globe outside and lush, melting interior with nuggets of corn. All five at our table found the chipotle & honey chicken wings outstanding; meaty, smoky and sweet; we'd come back again just for these golden-orange treats.
Bacon-wrapped jalapenos were savory, rich with cream cheese -- less of a spice kick than most of the salsas.

Don't overthink the culinary experience; Food Fight Inc. can craft just what a neighborhood craves: In this case, stellar bar food at an especially friendly, comforting place. Share the grouses of a workday/work-week over mild-to-spicy food and a great selection of beers (Hopalicious!) and margaritas. TX Tubbs is for the good value at happy hour -- go elsewhere for tacos, etc. if you seek authenticity.

Their Enchilada soup used to be AMAZING! I just had it a month ago and it was awful. I used to go here (alot) when the Atwood location first opened. They are definitely going down hill.

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

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