Fast-casual taco and burrito restaurants, whether they are franchises or mom-and-pop establishments, are on damn near every corner of Philly. But Revolution Taco, 2015 Walnut St., stands out.
Though the restaurant is situated on one of the busiest streets in the city, the space is cozy, and chefs and former food-truck owners Carolyn Nguyen and Michael Sultan make it worth the trip, with a global and classically trained approach to the familiar fare.
Revolution’s tacos hit all the right notes, with quality proteins like housemade chorizo ($8 for two, $11 for three) or gold angus ground beef ($7.50 for two, $10.50 for three), as well as vegan offerings like smoked mushrooms or fried cauliflower (both $7 for two, $9 for three). There’s no mixing and matching so go with what you love. They also have a weekly fish taco (MP), which depends on the season, and empanadas ($3), either a spinach artichoke or a weekly offering, which, when we visited, was a lovely smoked brisket.
All of the traditional Tex-Mex fare is exceptional but Revolution Taco’s efforts to push the envelope and be more adventurous are especially worth checking out. Splurge a little and feast upon the roast duck taco ($10 for one), which is juicy and overflowing with Asian flair thanks to a crispy scallion pancake that serves as the tortilla/taco shell, and generous helpings of plum barbeque sauce, ginger cabbage slaw and pickled oyster mushrooms.
The latest addition to the menu is the Pig Wings ($10 for three), named to evoke the idea of buffalo wings. These braised-pork shanks are dredged, fried and coated in sauce or dry rub (Korean BBQ or chipotle BBQ) and served with rice, beans and house-made salsa. Tasty and different, yes, but to be honest, these slow-cooked meaty pork behemoths come across like pork chops reimagined as finger food rather than buffalo wings. But that doesn’t take away from their charm. The wings swoop in with bold flavors that could win over staunch chicken-wing enthusiasts.
Revolution has also added tamales to the daily menu, with a rotating variety that will change each month. We sampled the Tee Chicken Verde tamales ($4 each), which were moist and hearty. These are definitely something you’ll want to try if you’re looking for more homestyle fare.
Yes, there are plenty of great taco places in the city, but Revolution Taco definitely distances itself from the pack by constantly evolving its style and menu.