Flex Your Spanish-Speaking Muscle at El Si Hay.
Tacqueria El Si Hay
601 W. Davis St.
Food: 3.5 out of 4 tacos.
Service: 3.5 out of 4 tacos.
Ambiance: 3 out of 4 tacos.
Before Bolsa opened a few years back, the West Davis Street intersection where North Llewellyn Avenue turns into Cedar Hill was noted for something else.
On one corner stood the now-shuttered, original Oak Cliff home for the quite-prosperous Gloria's chain, which has moved on to many other, greener, larger pastures. On another corner stood — and still stands — the adored El Si Hay taco joint.
Supported by these two spots alone, one could easily put forth an argument that this humble Oak Cliff intersection is as important a corner in the history of Dallas food as any other. It's not a crazy notion: Much as it tries to dabble in other realms, the Dallas food scene is probably most notable for its Tex-Mex and taco options, and, as these kinds of foods go, Gloria's and El Si Hay are surely as good as any area examples.
Right? Honestly, I'm usually too drunk on $3 margaritas at Gloria's to ever notice if the food there is any good. El Si Hay, on the other hand, is the real deal.
Sure, it's a humble little spot — just a small wooden shack outfitted with a kitchen and a window for service — but that's half of the charm. There are no frills at El Si Hay. There are, however, incredibly tasty tacos. And, almost always, a crowd. It's a varied crowd, too. A recent trip to El Si Hay featured essentially every end of the car spectrum — beat-up Fords, fresh-from-the-car-wash Land Rovers and, perhaps least surprising of all, a Dallas Police car. Tacos, as we all know, are the great unifier, and the ones at El Si Hay are no different.
Actually, they might be better. The barbacoa is sweet and a little tangy, the chorizo is sneakily flavorful and the carnitas are surprisingly moist — and each shines especially bright within the spot's tasty flour tortillas, which compliment the flavors without dominating them. Paired with a Mexican Coke, which El Si Hay proudly offers each of its patrons, a trio of this spot's tacos just might make for as fine and filling a lunch as you're likely to find in town — or at least the best option under $6, as El Si Hay only charges $1.50 per taco.
No need to stop there, though. If you do, you'll miss what might be El Si Hay's crown jewel.
Pop around the corner from the order window and you'll find El Si Hay's elotes stand. If this spot's offering of the south-of-the-border-born combination of corn, sour cream, cheese, lime juice and chili powder isn't the best in town, then it's certainly the fastest: For $2.50 and 30 seconds of wait time, you can score a big styrofoam cup of this delectable delight. Plus, you'll have the chance to brush up on your Spanish-speaking skills with the guy behind the cart. He doesn't mind, believe us.
More importantly, you can have something to munch on as you wait for your tacos.
You won't have to wait long for those tacos, though. Maybe five minutes. Ten minutes max.
Gloria's may not be gone from this intersection, sure. But that's certainly more than Bolsa can say during a given mealtime rush.