Patrons don't have to guess what's on the menu at a new fast-casual restaurant in Deep Ellum; its offerings are right in the name.
Bowls and Tacos, as it's called, is capitalizing on two trends: the rapidly expanding poke scene in North Texas and locals' ever-enduring passion for gas station tacos. The restaurant, which comes from the guys behind the neighborhood's Braindead Brewing, opened May 5.
Though Bowls and Tacos is located in a former gas station, you won't be able to fill your tank there. The owners have maintained much of the original charm of the building while adding a kitchen, bar and small dining area -- and that includes the quirks. Walking through the restaurant feels like entering a fun house. There's a different entrance to each of the walk-up counters where you order food and drinks as well as to the seating area. On nice days, exterior garage doors will be rolled up to give Bowls and Tacos a breezy indoor-outdoor vibe. There's also a patio area that wraps around the building.
Chef David Pena said the menu can be "divisive ... but there are a lot of things that are interchangeable."
The taco selection is largely an homage to Pena's Mexican heritage. There are seven proteins to choose from, including brisket, al pastor, and suadero, a rib meat that Pena says is not widely available in Dallas. Bowls and Tacos also has a vegetarian option, nopal, or cactus. Tacos come served on corn tortillas with cilantro and onions for $1.84 each. The restaurant also makes flour tortillas in-house.
As for the poke, which consists of raw fish, there's a classic bowl with ahi tuna, seaweed salad, onion, ginger, soy, basil, masago, crispy spam, seaweed seed and nori. The other offerings add a unique twist, such as the Texas Poke, a mix of gulf shrimp, salmon, tomato, napoles, black beans, peppers, corn and guacamole, in addition to other veggies. Bowls go for $12-$15 each. (See full menu below.)
Thirsty? Co-owner Sam Wynne designed Bowls and Tacos with "an old school, Southern ice house" vibe in mind. Because of the restaurant's affiliation with Braindead Brewing, the brewpub will create four Mexican-style craft beers to be served on draft. Bowls and Tacos will also serve a selection of canned brews.
Check out the full menu.
Bowls and Tacos is located at 3400 Commerce St. in Dallas. Parking is very limited at the restaurant since it's on a concrete island, but spots are available near the neighboring Sandbar Cantina. Hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.