The room is perpetually abustle with folks from the nearby neighborhood, workers from the dozens of retail stores on Cameron Road and travelers who’ve come from all over greater Austin for Amaya’s take on Tex Mex cuisine.
It’s wildly popular yet it’s been ten years since I’ve eaten here. With well over 200 Mexican restaurants in Austin it’s easy to skip one for years on end, even if it is an icon of the genre.
After watching some very fetching flour tortillas being paraded out of the kitchen I ask my server if they’re homemade, am enjoined to opt for the corn instead and sit back to take in the room.
Like a lot of my favorite restaurants, ambience is glaring. Tube fluorescent bulbs cast a brake-repair shop white light about as dollar store Mexican art looks down upon the throng from the walls.
A good dozen servers are working the room as an Ellis Island panoply of folks tuck into their giant combo platters. If there is ever a Hunt Brothers-esque attempt to corner the market on yellow cheese, this will be ground zero.
My taco makes its’ way through the crowd finally arriving at table. It’s quite handsome. The beef tips are bathed in an orange red sauce that speaks of tomatoes and cumin. Portion is generous with the meat straddling a thick, rustic yellow corn tortilla that may have been steamed as it’s extraordinarily tender.
Nary a bite goes to waste as the meat is toothsome with zero gristle. A proffered salsa is sampled but It could add little to the deliciousness profile so it’s quickly abandoned.
At $2.70 cents this is one expensive taco. The packed room indicates that the patrons have found this profit margin to be agreeable to their taco budget however.
While I can’t afford to eat too many tacos in this price range, with some careful budgeting I can see a future visit to Amaya’s Taco Village for some more of their exemplary carne guisada.
5405 N I H 35
4 **** Extraordinary, life changing
3 *** Excellent
2 * Very good
1 * Good
0 * Mediocre to Acceptable
Quality, price, service and ambiance are all taken into account when rating