A Parish of Pastor

Dec 3, 2013, 8:04 PM | Updated: 8:04 pm

We’re not the first to say it: the name’s a little weird. Taco Guild. Wait, huh? Wha? Guild? Tacos and Guilds? Huh? Then again, we thought that about the enchilada joint across the street (Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup) but now that we’re regulars over there, Gadzooks is part of our regular parlance.

Seems the corner of 7th Street and Osborn Road are where weird names go to thrive. Taco Guild. It just opened about a month ago and, like its funky named predecessor across the street, has everyone going: “I really like this place! I’m gonna be a regular!” Only in this case, the “Holy” is apropos — Taco Guild inhabits a church built in 1965.

This church isn’t some swanky, mid-century modern, swooping roofed structure like you see up and down Central Ave. This one’s grey stone, lofty, and downright gothic-looking. To that end, the Taco Guild retrofit has paid homage to the old church by cleaning up the stained glass windows, refinishing the massive support beams, using the old pews for seating, keeping all art in theme (i.e., painting Renaissance-inspired images above the rafters), and mixing old and new, like inserting a juke box in the bulletin board. The bar alone feels like an alter, one where you can worship the massive tequila list of over 150 selections. We appreciate not only that someone is finally focusing on tequila in midtown, but that they’re doing it with education in mind. The tequila list reads like an encyclopedia de agave, and flights are available so you can sip and learn simultaneously.

But at its core, Taco Guild is where you go to worship tacos.

The menu is concise and edited. Besides a handful of starters and small list of sides, it’s mainly comprised of two taco lists: Old World Tacos and New World Tacos.

On the Old Word side:

Al pastor pork, grilled pineapple, jalapeño bacon, pickled red onion
Pork adovada, habanero banana mango relish, avocado, cilantro
Urban Bean coffee braised beef, caramelized onion, mango jicama relish, Cotija cheese
Grilled chicken, annatto braised chicken, grilled corn, red bean pico, avocado cream
Grilled seasonal vegetable, fire-roasted peppers, roasted jalapeño hummus

On the New World side:

Yucatan shrimp, green cabbage slaw, avocado cream
Molida lamb, Creole aïoli, bleu cheese, sweet potato hay
Chipotle cherry steak, crispy poblano onion straws, chile aïoli, bleu cheese Peking duck, plum sauce, fire roasted poblano apricot compote, fried
Brie cheese Thai snapper, coconut green curry, sweet Thai slaw

All of these tacos are $3.95 each except the steak, duck, and snapper, which clock in at a buck more each. $4-$5 tacos? These aren’t your two-ounce street style variety – these hefty portions are big enough for sharing in groups, because hey, church and tacos are both communal experiences.

With each taco, you choose in-house, handmade corn or flour tortillas, or lettuce shells. We went lettuce on the Peking duck and had to double take that we were actually in a Mexican joint. Both tortilla types held up as tacos sat in their zigzag trays. On the steak taco, you’ll notice a topping of crispy poblano onion straws. You’ll also notice that you’ll want more of those. They can be ordered as a side with Creole aïoli dipping sauce for $2.50.

On the appetizer side, we loved the Schreiner’s Chorizo Albondigas, which come in a cast iron pot stewing with spicy chipotle prickly pear sauce and slivers of pickled red onion for $8.95. There’s also a couple guacs and a ceviche of the day (it was scallop and shrimp during our visit) on the app menu.

While dining, keep an eye up at the chalkboard by the kitchen, it’ll tell ya what local farms Taco Guild is currently sourcing from. And keep an eye down at your dishes – Taco Guild uses a mish mosh of old china. We hear that as dishes break, they’ll invite customers to bring in old dishes in exchange for eternal salvation.

Just kidding. They’ll probably just give you a taco. But hey, to us, a good taco is as good as eternal salvation.

Taco Guild
546 E. Osborn Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602.264.4143
www.tacoguild.com
daily 11am-close (open 10am on Sunday)

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A Parish of Pastor