After eating a messy and wonderful steelhead trout taco at Elwood’s Shack, I walked back to the counter to ask how the kitchen makes the taco shells. As I started to speak, I realized my glasses were splattered with taco sauce. “Good grief, look at me,” I said, laughing. “I’m a mess.”
The server nodded conspiratorially (you should see me when I eat them, she said) and then proceeded to explain the process: Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper, butter flour tortillas on both sides, sprinkle with provolone and mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees. The baking gives the tortillas a little crunch, plus they flake a bit like phyllo dough.
Toss in cilantro, chopped avocado, creamy horseradish sauce, house-made pico de gallo, mixed baby romaine, and trout flown in every morning from Oregon for a taco so good and popular that it’s hard to mention Elwood’s without including trout tacos in the same sentence.
Now shrimp and meat lovers can join the restaurant’s taco party. Introduced a few weeks ago, Elwood’s new taco lineup includes five additional proteins all dressed like their popular sister but still distinctive. The shrimp, like the trout, is baked, but the brisket, pork, turkey, and chicken are all smoked in-house over pecan wood.
On a recent visit, we tried the chicken, brisket, and trout (priced from $6 to $8) and loved all three. We took the brisket to go, because one taco is plenty, especially when paired with a growler from home, a cup of pepperpot soup, or the restaurant’s purple cabbage slaw made with Maytag blue cheese and jalapeno.
If you prefer wine to beer, bring along a bottle. The staff at Elwood’s is more than happy to hand over a corkscrew, along with cute plastic glasses with stems.
Elwood’s Shack, 4523 Summer Ave. (901-761-9898) $