I Drove 40 Miles for a Taco

Michael Nagrant / 03.14.08

There are at least a thousand taquerias in Chicago city proper, though only about ten of them actually sear their meat and season it properly. Still, ten is a pretty hefty number. Hell, growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, we didn’t even have one good taqueria, only a second rate Chi-Chi’s serving up enchiladas “Cancun” filled with fake crab meat and krill-sized shrimp. Faced with this gluttony of “local” options, I wondered why I was driving 40 miles to check out a suburban taqueria. But I try not to leave any stone unturned when it comes to food tips, and I’d heard from a good source that the folks at Bien Trucha were tearing it up.

Bien Trucha, which is housed in a space with the square footage of a Volkswagon Jetta, is an iconoclastic taqueria. Instead of some dingy ramshackle hallway where you wait for grease-soaked brown bags of hangover helper, Trucha’s walls are covered in mod tapestries and its handful of tables are outfitted with shiny china and elegant glassware.

Each of their different tacos comes with a custom salsa, and the guacamole of the day is studded with fruit. On this particular day, I scored some juicy watermelon-infused guacamole. I originally blanched at the idea, but the sweetness tempered the chilis and avocado fat—I can’t imagine why people make guacamole without fruit now. Served as a two tier flower shaped custard, even a ubiquitous staple like flan gets the haute treatment.

I’d tried a few of the tacos, but the Spanish-inflected house taco, aka the Bien Trucha—featuring a micro dice of caramelized skirt steak smothered in griddled chorizo, a rich bed of melty Manchego, and a dollop of grassy Serrano chili salsa—was possibly the best taco I’ve ever had in Chicagoland. You might burn a meal’s worth of gas to get here if you live in the city proper, but you won’t find a serious eats taco like the Bien Trucha anywhere back in the city, not even at Frontera Grill.

Bien Trucha
Address: 410 W. State Street, Geneva, IL (map)

Phone: 630-232-2665