100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 52, Tacos at Brothers Taco House

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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Whether you're in the market for breakfast tacos or lunchtime tacos, Brothers Taco House on Dowling has been serving some of the best of both in Houston since I was a kid. When I visited my father at the massive Chase Tower downtown as a kid, he'd take me to Brothers in the morning where he'd line up in his business suit alongside people from every other walk of life -- all of us there for the same thing: breakfast tacos.

Virtually nothing about this experience has changed 20 years later. There's still a long line at breakfast and lunch, with downtown business workers rubbing shoulders with construction workers, University of Houston students rubbing shoulders with HPD officers, EaDo hipsters rubbing shoulders with East End families. The tacos are still enormous; two are more than enough to feed one person. And the place still only takes cash, so be warned.

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Although some people are huge fans of Brothers' daily lunch specials, I still go for the tacos. On a hot griddle behind the steam table, you can see a lineup of ladies making the fluffy flour tortillas fresh as you order. And from the belly of the kitchen, you can hear an anvil chorus of line cooks chopping and hacking meat apart to fill the metal bins on the steam table with carnitas, lengua, chicharrones, deshebrada and -- on the weekends -- barbacoa.

The lengua and chicharrones tie for my favorite meats here. The lengua has a thick, savory texture to each meaty chunk, while the chicharrones are soft, fatty nuggets that virtually burst in your mouth as you bite into them. The chicharrones are stewed in a mild red sauce that's enhanced with the addition of some of Brothers' flavorful green salsa, but the lengua requires no additional accouterments at all. Just grab and go -- and remember to bring bills.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina

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Location Info

Brothers Taco House

1604 Dowling, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

might want to look at a map, this is Texas, not interior Mexico, and I have a hard time taking any advice on TexMex from a guy named Bruce... And if you bring my Grandmother into this again, I will send you a computer virus so heinous your car won't start....:)


Jesus Christo, They've been doing that for at least 70 years here.  Where are you from, exactly?

Bruce R
Bruce R

Don't know. But fluffy flour tortillas are a dumbed down version of a respectable tortilla.  While we're at it, why would a Tex-Mex restaurant serve a crunchy taco?

Shitty McCockpoop
Shitty McCockpoop

They've taken cards for as long as I've been going there.  At least the last 5 years.


 I've been in Houston 40 years.  Flour tortillas have always been the norm.  What time frame are you even talking about?

Bruce R
Bruce R

Sounds like your grandmother might be the one responsible for this travesty. Corn is traditional, we can all agree on that. But Texicans have spoken.  They like tortillas that taste like biscuits. It's a shame.


I haven't been here in years.  Good, cheap eats.  If I lived closer, I'd go more often.  I need to find a good breakfast taco near my neck.


I'm Pretty sure they take cards. I rarely carry cash and I used to eat there a couple times a week. 

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