The Screaming Goat
This place at the end of the alley promises tacos and cold beer, and it delivers
Reviewed by Rachel Feit, Fri., May 8, 2009
The Screaming Goat900 W. 10th, 477-GOAT
Monday-Wednesday, 7:30am-8pm; Thursday-Friday, 7:30am-10pm; Saturday, 9am-10pm; Sunday, 9am-8pm
The homemade sign for the Screaming Goat promises tacos and cold beer at the end of the alley. As I ease my car through the narrow lane, I see that tables are set up along Shoal Creek, behind the old bungalow fronting 10th Street. On this day, as on most days, the tables are completely full of diners. I park and enter the restaurant, then order from a chalkboard over the cashier's counter. Like the no-frills exterior, the decor at this new Downtown taco bar is understated, with small rooms spilling into other rooms, giving it a homey, coffeehouse feel. I settle into a table, and my tacos and beer arrive within five minutes, despite the busy lunch crowd.
The Screaming Goat's basic menu focuses on tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tortas, and flautas. Except for the flautas, all can be customized with a choice of fillings: carne asada, plain chicken, chicken adobado, al pastor, tilapia, beans, or ground beef. Six different salsas, purportedly ranging in heat, can be mixed and matched to complement the fillings. These are recipes of co-owner David Sahagun's abuela. And while they resonate with home-cooked flavor, the menu's description of them is misleading. The verde sauce, advertised as very hot, seemed tamer than the supposedly mild Olivia sauce – a thin yet blistering red salsa, more akin to Tabasco.
No, the Screaming Goat does not serve cabrito, despite its name. It does prepare a memorable al pastor ($2.35), spiced with chiles, cloves, and ... was that cinnamon I detected? The tilapia taco ($2.35), served on a corn tortilla and mated with the Screaming Goat's fiery Olivia sauce, is a lively bite. I also recommend the flautas ahogadas ($3.39). Filled with ground beef or chicken, these are smothered with a thin tomatillo or tomato broth – almost like a hearty soup. For the taco-weary, there's a selection of hamburgers and fries, the most popular of which is the nacho burger ($4.89), smothered with queso, jalapeños, and guacamole.
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