Casual Dining reviews

Pedro’s Taco Shop is a casual Mexican restaurant that focuses on tacos, burritos, tortas and a selection of unique entrees.

The look of the restaurant is based on the San Diego surf shop culture, but it looks like any other college town bar with branded flags and signs advertising the very economical drink specials.

On the corner of Tate Street near UNCG, it has a large bar, plenty of tables, and a covered patio that overlooks Tate Street, perfect for people watching.

Pedro’s offers more than a dozen different tacos, burritos, tortas, arroz con pollo (affectionately referred to as ACP) and a host of other entrée choices. It’s perfect for a stop in between classes or for a casual meal.

Every meal comes with complimentary chips and tomato salsa, even the to-go orders. As a reminder of who the main clientele are, the menu begins with Spartan Nachos: tortilla chips, seasoned ground beef, shredded chicken and black beans topped with cheese, lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo. The black beans are also available as a side (along with rice, pinto beans, refried black beans, refried beans, grilled vegetables, pickled carrots, fries, sweet potato fries and grilled nopales) and are the best of the available options.

All of the other appetizers are mostly some variation of a cheese dip with chorizo, queso fresco or avocado. The elote dip is a standout with grilled corn and melted cheese dip topped with queso fresco and chopped cilantro.

ACP, another popular menu item ranges from the simple grilled chicken served over rice and covered in cheese with a garnish of pico de gallo to the more elaborate Arroz Tejano, grilled carne asada steak, chicken and shrimp.

The main event at Pedro’s are the tacos with hand-made tortillas. The tortillas are made of corn and have the mark of a handmade creation: slightly raguly edges. The tacos have 11 meat options including al pastor, carne asada, tripe and shrimp. The lone vegetarian taco is an interesting mix of grilled nopales (cactus), zucchini, corn, mushrooms, spinach and poblano peppers topped with a peanut sauce. The bits of nopales have a texture similar to okra mixed with the crunch of a bell pepper.

The 99 cent tacos special served on Tuesdays are simple with beef or chicken, lettuce and cheese. There is complexity in simplicity, and these are far better than the more expensive tacos on the menu.

The El Chapo Shrimp (named after a famed Mexican drug lord) is grilled shrimp, cilantro, red onion, queso fresco and a house sauce, called balas, which seems to be nothing more than a creamy, seasoned mayonnaise-based dressing. Upon request, other more flavorful sauces include tomatillo, chile de arbol, habanero and chipotle. The grilled chicken and the Carolina BBQ tacos were a hit with my dining companions. Although the barbecued pork was juicy and topped with a flavorful cilantro lime slaw and queso fresco, the chopped cilantro on every menu item is a mix of the tender, flavorful leaves and woody, hard-to-chew stems.

The menu is large, diverse and flavorful. The sheer number of menu items will have you returning again and again to sample everything Pedro’s has to offer in the taco shop.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Casual Dining features local restaurants for diners on a budget. It appears the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Nikki Miller-Ka at nicolettemiller.ka@gmail.com.

Load comments