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Tacos Las Palmas (Grand Island NE)

Grand Island NE

645 s locust st, grand island NE
daily 10:30am-8:30pm

Tacos Las Palmas (Grand Island NE)

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Rating: 92

The To-Go

Excellent tacos and easy access from I-80 make Tacos las Palmas the ideal spot for folks driving through Nebraska. We got carne asada & pastor tacos + a chorizo sope. Single flaw: no salsa with the tacos to-go.

The Sit-Down

Recently, I had occasion to take a couple drives between Madison WI and Grand Lake CO. The majority of the driving on this route bisects the Platte River Watershed along I-80 and has two defining characteristics which might imply poor taco quality: low population density and a Midwestern location. However, experienced readers will note that excellent tacos have been found outside “The City” and between the Rockies/Appalachians on multiple occasions. And, it should go without saying, the current titleholder for best tacos in the USA are located in a sparsely populated area of central Michigan and surrounded by a rural landscape.

Nonetheless, the drive through Nebraska is not particularly thrilling, and after a couple hours of driving through cornfields (well, more like past them) the executive steering committee (myself, along with business associate Erin and official mascot Roxie) was really looking forward to a great meal within walking distance of the Grand Island Travelodge (a 12 minute drive north of I-80 for the traveler just passing through). Tacos Las Palmas represented an option both convenient and of high reputation. Nevertheless, after a full day of driving I was feeling lazy, and decided to forego a review and order a burrito (pastor, wet). Fortunately, Erin kept the faith and ordered a couple tacos, gave them a sterling unofficial review, and we immediately decided an official review stop was necessary on the return trip. (Side note: The burrito was delicious, though a bit rice-heavy).

After six weeks of holding our bated breath, we made it back to Grand Island and took the same walk north from the Travelodge to Tacos Las Palmas. Both of us submitted matching orders: two tacos (carne asada and pastor) and a sope (chorizo). In the interest of tradition, we walked to a bench in the park across the street and chowed down. The taco base was double corn tortillas, stacked with an average sized meat portion and topped with cilantro and onions. The quality of both meats was excellent, almost completely lacking in fat and gristle. The asada was well seasoned, mildly peppery and salty but not overwhelming. The pastor has a tangy flavor, a bit lacking in spice but piquant nonetheless. If asked to pick between them, I’d struggle, but eventually rate the asada as the better filling. Erin agreed, but noted for the record that she preferred the pastor on the westward trip, indicating there may be some variability in either taste bud or meat preparation. The sopes were also excellent, with a particularly good fried base.

Alas, not all was honey and flowers in Grand Island, and Tacos Las Palmas had one major downfall – salsa was neither offered nor provided with our to-go order. Giving them Las Palmas the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume that it’s standard for people dining in the restaurant, but I found myself longing for it on our to-go order. Despite this flaw, Tacos Las Palmas provides an excellent taco in an unexpected location, and should be one of the go-to stops for taco connoisseurs travelling along I-80 in the future.

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