El Novillero. 4216 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento
The Taco: #23, Carnitas Taco Dinner
The Price: $11.95 for two tacos plus rice & beans
The Verdict: El Novillero celebrated its 40th year of operation this year, and as I've said before, any business that manages to survive that long must have something going for it. They have racked up three "Best Mexican Restaurant" awards from KCRA, not to mention being specifically recommended to us by an acquaintance as "the best mexican food in Sacramento", so we made our first visit expecting greatness. The restaurant itself has enough charm to go around and inside you could just as easily imagine yourself in Mexico as Sacramento.
I ordered the carnitas taco plate which came with two well-stuffed tacos and a healthy portion of rice and beans on the side. The tacos were filled with plenty of meat, a generous layer of guacamole and topped with some lettuce, cheese and sauce. The meat was juicy and flavorful and had just the right amount of chewiness. I found the sides to be acceptable, but not great. The beans were tasty but a little dry. The rice had a pronounced tomato flavor that I didn't find overly objectionable, but I would have enjoyed a more subtle flavor.
Overall, this is a taco blog and I did enjoy the tacos. By the stated criteria, this was a delicious well-prepared taco that I would recommend to friends. Maybe we encountered a fluke but the side dishes, would not earn as much of a recommendation.
The Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)