I’ve driven past the corner of NE 8th and 156th Ave NE many times in the last year or so and couldn’t help but notice a new taco truck parked behind the 76 Station. The reviewers on Yelp, though small in number, were almost unanimous in their praise, a few of them even going so far as to admitting having pined away when the truck apparently disappeared for a few months last spring. To their delight, it has returned. Why I’ve never stopped to try it until now, I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s because I was on my way somewhere, like shopping at the Crossroads mall across the street or going to the movies. But, today I was at the post office at lunch time and made a decision to stop at El Maestro del Taco, only a half block away.
Taco fillings include lengua, cabeza, beef cheeks, adobada, asada and carnitas. At $2 each, they’re quite a steal. Each one is sprinkled with minced onion and cilantro and sliced radish. A lime quarter is also included. Zestiest of them all, pork adobada revealed its red chile, herb, spice and vinegar marinade, one of the best versions I’ve had locally (☆☆☆½). The carnitas were braised in a hugely flavorful liquid. The taco had some of the simmered onions and intensely flavorful pork shreds still clinging onto its lardy drippings, my wife’s favorite of the three (☆☆☆½). For my money, the asada taco (☆☆☆☆) was my favorite, the best I’ve had in a very long time since the majestic ones at a Walla Walla Mexican restaurant (Taqueria Yungapeti). Not only were they richly seasoned and beefy in flavor, they were tender, a far cry from many a gristly example I’ve eaten. In fact, all the meats were tender and had no obvious imperfections.
Also appearing in my order was a grilled long green chile, I’m guessing a chilaca (pasilla), which packed so much heat that I couldn’t finish it. A small tub of tomatillo salsa was also included, stiffened with a good dose of spicy green chile.
The truck’s name might sound a bit like self-promotion and grandiloquence, but the results speak for themselves. This is the best taco truck I’ve found thus far in the Seattle area, though it’s certain there are other fine purveyors in the many parking lots of Seattle and surroundings. The fact that El Maestro is relatively close to me in Bellevue is all the incentive I need to be a frequent customer. I surely hope they don’t do a disappearing act anytime soon. And the price can’t be beat.
El Maestro del Taco
15615 NE 8th St
Bellevue, WA 98008
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