When I am in the mood for a new authentic Mexican restaurant, I always start my search in the north-central part of town. The area bounded by Waco, 9th, Broadway, and 29th streets holds a treasure trove of street tacos, menudo, mole, and salsas just waiting to be consumed. My target on this day was Gorditas Durango, a eatery located on 13th just across the street from North High.
Gorditas Durango is a cozy place with limited seating especially during lunch time. All the ordering is done at the counter, but the menu is fairly brief and has pictures to assist you. Included are tacos, gorditas, burritos, sopes, enchiladas, as well as a basic hamburger. There are several different meats to choose from including carne asada, al pastor, barbacoa, and chicharron. Everything is very inexpensive with most items under $5.
On our visit we created our own sampler platter that included an al pastor burrito, a rajas and queso(peppers and cheese) sope, a barbacoa taco, a carne asada gordita, and a chicharron gordita. It seemed like a lot of food, especially after it took multiple trips by the waitress to deliver it, but everything sounded so delicious it was hard to narrow down. The great thing was it only cost $15.
The burrito was filled with a generous serving of al pastor pork as well as beans and cheese. On top was melted cheese, salsa, and cilantro. This burrito was very filling and good, but I thought the al pastor was not quite as tasty as what you can find at other places in town. The barbacoa taco was served in the traidtional manner with a couple corn tortillas, onions, and cilantro. The barbacoa itself was top notch as it was tender and flavorful. The gorditas were simple soft corn pouches filled with meat, cheese, onion, and cilantro. The carne asada filling was alright, but nothing spectacular. The chicharron on the other hand was amazing. Instead of the typical fried method, this pork skin had been slow cooked with some spices and chiles until it was rendered into tender bits of deliciousness. The richness of the pork fat and the subtle heat from the chiles
made me want to take a vat of this stuff home with me. Most sopes suffer from being a dense cake of corn dough, but not at Gorditas Durango. Their version is a light and crispy disk that provides an excellent way to convey the rajas and queso topping. The peppers were slow roasted and mixed with more of their white melting cheese to create a very flavorful dish. Lettuce, tomato, guac, and sour cream added more flavors to the party. This was the best sope I have had in town. A large bowl of roasted salsa verde came with our meal. Although it was spicy, I found myself putting a little dash onto much of my food. To round out our meal we shared a large cup of homemade cinnamony Horchata.
Lke many places, Gorditas Durango has some hit and miss dishes, but in this case the chicharron gordita and rajas sope make it worth a trip down 13th street. The next time you crave authentic Mexican food Gorditas Durango should be on your short list.