Sometimes it takes a lot more time and effort to pull off “effortlessly cool” than it seems. Ask anyone who’s ever tried to pull off the messy hair look. The same goes for food, especially the deceptively simple yet exceptionally delicious suadero tacos at Suerte in East Austin. Take a look around the dining room, and you’d be hard pressed to find more than a couple tables without an order of them. The tacos seem pretty straightforward: four small corn tortillas, each with some brisket and a dollop of guacamole. But they’re anything but simple, requiring a three-day process that involves slow-confited brisket, something called “black magic oil,” and nixtamalized corn tortillas. They’re a pretty good example of what Suerte is all about—great food in an effortlessly cool atmosphere— and part of what makes this restaurant one of the best modern Mexican restaurants in town.
Start with a bright, punchy ceviche swimming in a shallow pool of burnt habanero broth, served with a couple of giant chips the size of a standard postcard, but a lot more fun to eat. Then make your way down to the tacos and tostadas, making pit stops along the way for excellent sopes, molotes, and whatever special they have running that evening. Don’t debate if you should order the suadero tacos, just decide on how many you’ll want. They come four to an order, each tiny tortilla topped with confit brisket that defies science—it’s rich without being greasy, and intensely flavorful while still maintaining perfect balance from a dollop of tangy guacamole and funky, spicy “black magic oil.” After all that, if you still have room, get the slightly larger format plates, like the smoked goat barbacoa that comes wrapped in a banana leaf you’ll get to open like a savory little present.
Suerte feels like a Mexican restaurant that spends its summers in Marfa drinking natural wine and mezcal palomas, talking about how much cooler the town was five years ago. The dining room has a desert chic vibe with a mix of organic and modern accents—like cacti, copitas, and large clay pots—that makes it all feel effortlessly cool. It’s hip, it’s trendy, and it’s where half of Austin wants to be on any given night. It’s not a place you need to dress up for, but it’s a place you’ll want to, just a bit. By day, it’s a bright and airy space (that you’ll get to see if you book a weekend brunch table). By night, it’s buzzing with the energy that can only be found at a place that gets booked up weeks in advance (unless you’re OK with a 10:30pm dinner, or manage to grab one of the walk-up tables by the bar). Unfortunately, that also comes with some deafening sound levels—just use it as an excuse to pass your date cute little notes throughout dinner, since they probably can’t hear you otherwise.
Come to Suerte when you want to impress a date (with or without the notes) or enjoy brunch with a few friends on Suerte’s patio overlooking a busy stretch of East 6th Street. Just remember, nothing this cool comes easy, or we’d be rocking the messy hair look and making our own confited brisket tacos at home.
This refreshing starter combines a lot of delicate flavors—like lime-cured flounder, cucumber relish, and a tangy verde broth—all served with a couple of corn chips the size of a standard postcard. Give them a karate chop (or just a gentle break) and enjoy it in more manageable bites.
Tlayuda De Hongos
The tlayuda is a great dish for sharing—it’s roughly the size of a small pizza, but with the consistency closer to a tostada. There’s a great balance of smoky flavors, and the fried allium adds a nice textural contrast to the almost-creamy white bean aligot it’s all resting on.
These come four to an order, so bring some friends or make a meal out of them (they’re pretty small). Each one is topped with a generous scoop of tender, confit brisket, and a drizzle of black magic oil—basically a mashup of salsa matcha and chili oil—that you’ll want to drizzle on everything.
The smoked goat meat comes out packaged in a banana leaf, and slowly unwrapping it is like a present that you can smell before you see. It’s tender and juicy, with just a hint of savory gamey flavor. It comes served with a couple different salsas—a roasted red one, and a more tangy green one—and some pickled veggies that add a bit of crunch to each bite. This one’s also a bit bigger of a portion, so save this for a group order, unless you and your date really like goat.
If you’re over the age of 12, you’ve probably had a Klondike Choco Taco (and if you’re younger than that, what are you doing here?). But you probably haven’t had a Chocotaco quite like this one—complete with a house-made chocolate masa shell, peanut caramel, cinnamon semifreddo, and roasted peanuts—it hits every nostalgia nerve at once. And the best part is it never comes out pre-smashed.