Do you and your friends ever get into “The Great Debate”? No, I’m not talking about Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola, cats vs. dogs or thin crust vs. deep dish. I’m talking about which combination of meat and carbs you should get when you go out to eat: tacos or burgers?
T&B Grill (3658 W. Lawrence Ave.), located near the Kimball Brown Line stop, solves this dilemma by offering both. The wide-ranging menu is not surprising, as this Albany Park restaurant is located in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the United States.
My friend and I went to T&B Grill on a Friday night. The restaurant was not particularly crowded, so our waitress was attentive, but not intrusive.
We began our meal with an appetizer of chips and guacamole ($7), of which I was slightly suspicious of because they were served within one minute of ordering them.
The chips were fried slices of T&B’s house-made tortilla, so they were crispier than your average chip.
While they weren’t stale, they would have been better made-to-order. The guacamole was fresh, smooth and creamy, but it could have used extra lime and salt — which I asked our waitress to bring, and she was happy to do so.
Feeling that we should try both items for which the restaurant is named, my friend and I ordered one burger and two different tacos to split between us.
The grilled veggie taco ($2.50) included black beans, corn, yellow squash, red onions, zucchini and roasted tomatillo salsa. The vegetables were well-seasoned and sauteed, so they were soft but not mushy, and the tomatillo salsa added just the right amount of heat without being too spicy.
The chorizo taco ($3.50) included house-made crispy chorizo, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and chipotle aioli. My friend and I particularly enjoyed this taco because the chorizo’s consistency blended well with the texture of the cool, fresh avocado.
The tacos came in the restaurant’s house-made cilantro jalapeno tortillas, and the flavor was that of a standard flour tortilla. The only noticeable difference was their bright green color, but their softness showed they were freshly made, so I had no complaints.
We ordered the classic burger ($12), which was served on a pretzel bun and topped with jalapeno aioli, caramelized onions, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese, with a side of truffle fries ($3).
The burger patty itself was dense, and I would ask for it to be prepared differently next time, as it was a little dry. Still, the spicy jalapeno aioli combined with the smoky bacon and sweet caramelized onions made it enjoyable.
The truffle fries were crispy and the addition of truffle salt added an extra punch of umami flavor to them.
Overall, I think T&B Grill is a better choice for tacos than it is for burgers, but I was not disappointed with either choice.
I would definitely go back to try more of the restaurant’s taco flavors, such as the duck taco ($3.25), which has ancho pepper, guajillo aioli, pickled cabbage and carrots, or the pork belly taco with pineapple habanero pico de gallo, grilled pineapple and habanero aioli.
If you visit the restaurant, it might be a good idea to order slider versions of different burgers for $5 each, giving you the opportuni- ty to try multiple burgers, such as the T&B Burger, which includes a bison patty, jalapeno aioli, chorizo, grilled shrimp, pepper jack cheese and guacamole. But, if you’re a vegetarian, don’t count this place out: The restaurant’s meat-free options are just as good.
The variety of both tacos and burgers makes T&B Grill a quality spot to dine. Whether you’re on team taco or team burger, you’ll be able to choose from plenty of options.