Pretty much any time you research the history of a “new” Tex-Mex dish — breakfast tacos and fajitas, for example — your trail will end somewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. In days gone by, those dishes would first be adopted in San Antonio, from whence they would then be taken first to Houston and Austin, and then Dallas, and then the rest of the world. (No Mama Ninfa did not invent fajitas here, no, Austin did not invent the breakfast taco or pretty much anything else aside, possibly, from various Asian fusion tacos.)
Today, Aldinians can short-circuit that process by eating at any number of the newer establishments in the area, many of which, like Tacos Estilo Reynosa, have evolved out of taco trucks. Reynosa’s set-up is more or less a wheel-less taco truck even today — there is no indoor seating, and you order and pick up from windows from what was once a single-family home and then have the option to sit at a shaded picnic table on the small patio or take your food home or on up Aldine-Westfield to nearby Keith-Wiess Park. In other words, this was built as a very pandemic-friendly establishment, so they’ve not had to make many changes to their standard business model.
On offer is north Tamaulipas-style tacos on your choice of flour or yellow corn tortillas. Their tripitas and chicharrones are quite popular, but I opted for al pastor with cilantro and onions, lime and that bright green salsa tan sabrosa along with a Mexican cheeseburger with plenty of asadero cheese and a thick slice of folded up jamon between buns slathered in smoky salsa roja.
My son, now a 23-year-old army vet, was my dining companion, and ever since some grad students from Rice came to his second grade classroom and via experimentation, dubbed him a “super-taster,” he has been a man of simple tastes. What may come across as bland to me is the proverbial party in his mouth, and so as usual when we eat out together, he ordered a plain old quesadilla, as he has done for decades now. (His mother is from England. Maybe that’s why he’s the way he is.)
All of this is by way of saying there are quesadillas, and then there are the quesadillas at Tacos Estilo Reynosa. These might just define the quesadilla, they might be the platonic ideal of a quesadilla, the UQ — Ultimate Quesadilla, or Quesadilla Ultimada, if you prefer. There’s nothing unusual about their ingredients or cooking method — it’s just that it all comes together so well there — the asadero cheese and the perfect flour tortilla and the bistec chunks fusing as one, singing together in low choral harmony like I’ve found nowhere else but this particular taco stand on Aldine-Westfield Road.
Tacos Estilo Reynosa is cash only and can get crowded; calling ahead often avails you little as they are too busy to answer the phone during these peak times, but should you get through, they do a good job of keeping your food warm until your arrival. They open at 7:30 for the breakfast taco bunch.
11054 Aldine Westfield Rd.
Houston, Texas 77093