Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Austin Taco Project

If there is one thing that everyone in Austin can agree on, it's tacos. Tacos for breakfast, tacos for lunch, tacos for dinner - it's the food for all occasions.

The Hilton recently dove into the taco fray with the Austin Taco Project. They invited us out for a meal on them (we covered alcohol and grat) and we jumped at the chance to check out the newest tacos in town.

Austin Taco Project
Is it just me, or did they model this guy after Brandon Watson?

We kicked off our experience with cocktails, of course. I chose a Last of the Oaxacans, a fabulously smoky take on the Old Fashioned, with Mestizo mezcal reposado, Luxardo, and blood orange bitters. 

Austin Taco Project Cocktail
Last of the Oaxacans ($12)

Austin Taco Project's quest to cull flavors from all over the world can be seen in this North Pacific Poke "Taco" appetizer. Raw salmon, lotus root, cucumber, and sesame seeds were served on slices of daikon radish. 

Austin Taco Project Poke
North Pacific Poke ($8)

My husband loved their take on poutine - tater tots topped with rib eye cap barbacoa, fried cheese curds, poblano gravy, and a fried egg. A person could easily make a meal out of this appetizer!

Austin Taco Project Tots
Poutine ($7)

For the taco portion of our meal, I tried the Bulgogi, the Oc-Thai-Pus, and the Wake Up! tacos. The Wake Up! is our server's favorite taco (not just here, but anywhere) - chili & coffee smoked brisket, apple anytime slaw, and blueberry ghost pepper crema on a flour tortilla. My hands-down favorite of the three was the Oc-Thai-Pus: tender Thai BBQ octopus with crispy garlic and cashew cilantro coconut curry on a saffron tortilla.  

Austin Taco Project Tacos
From left to right: Wake Up! ($7), Oc-Thai-Pus ($7), Bulgogi ($6), Mexican Street Corn ($4)

My husband also got a Wake Up!, as well as a Wilbur & Huevos (mojo pork, sunny egg, Oaxaca cheese and arbol sauce on a corn tortilla) and a Barbacoa On Deck.

Austin Taco Project Tacos
From left to right: Wake Up!, Barbacoa On Deck ($7), Wilbur & Huevos ($5)

We were pretty full at this point, but the dessert menu wooed us. My husband chose the Southern Affair, a bread pudding made with doughnuts and topped with pecan pie crumble, vanilla bean ice cream, and bourbon butterscotch.

Austin Taco Project Bread Pudding
Southern Affair Bread Pudding $5)

I had to have the trio of stuffed churros: spicy salted caramel, creme brulee, and ganache stuffed chocolate, served with a warm chocolate dipping sauce and Mexican vanilla whipped cream. I could not get enough of these - they were fabulous.

Austin Taco Project Churros
Trio of Stuffed Churros ($9)

In a city full of fantastic tacos, Austin Taco Project has some stiff competition, particularly given their price point of $5-$7 per taco. Nevertheless, I think Austin visitors and locals alike will enjoy the wide-ranging menu, the well-made cocktails, and the killer desserts.

Austin Taco Project
500 E. 4th Street (inside the Hilton)
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 682-2739


  1. Whoa, that octopus taco sounds very interesting! The poutine and bread pudding has me wide-eyed! Looks like a great meal!

    1. That octopus taco was one of the best takes on a fusion taco I've ever had. And yes - the desserts are not to be missed!!

  2. I really liked the Wake Up! and so did Sugarface. We also both got the Vietnam and it was yummy. I will say they have stiff competition. They kind of remind me a bit of Velvet Taco.

    1. I need to try Velvet Taco! Did you try an Oc-Thai-Pus? Vietnam going on my list for next time!

  3. I love the concept- I'm a big taco fan! I'm curious if you were actually able to pick up the daikon taco and eat it! This is now on my list for places to eat when downtown. Thank you!

    1. I was, Rachel!! If I recall correctly, I may have nibbled on a bit of the filling first to reduce the load on the daikon wrap, but once I had done that, I was able to pick it up to eat!


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