I found the hard shell taco place in Silverlake -- Ricks.
I'm not typically an advocate of fast food joints, but there's this little stand in Silverlake, on the corner of Riverside and Fletcher, that is worthy of hound attention, called Rick's.
Yes, it's kind of divey, and a wee bit scary. Their drive-thru is makeshift. But their food is good. The burgers are on par with Fatburger, and their chili (i.e. chili fries) is better. They actually serve a chunky, meaty chili. My friends who like onion rings and veggie burgers testify that Rick's does those well, too. What totally got me was that in the Silver Lake area, no Mexican restaurant, either formal or casual, that I've been to so far did a good hard shell taco. Several do excellent soft-shell tacos, like Casa Diaz, El Gran Burrito, and Antojitos Denise. But the hard-shell taco is a rare beast in this hood, and even the standard, "old school" places didn't do it well. Maybe their proximity to the "real thing" got in their way. ;-) But not Barragans, not El Chavo, El Compadre, not La Cita, not any of the obvious or less obvious places do it, and sometimes all you want is a good hard shell taco.
I'd been to Rick's before for burgers, and like I said above, their burgers are on par with and comparable to Fatburger. But last time I was at Rick's, I saw that they also made tacos and burritos. Given the decency of the burger I'd had the last time I ate there, I decided to go all out and do Mexican at Rick's.
And I was not disappointed. Rather, I was happily impressed. The hard-shell taco was everything I'd want it to be -- home fried shell, kind of casually-tasty meat, but stuffed with cheese, tomato and letuce, and served with a tasty red chile sauce. It was good. It was actually very good.
Ricks, on the corner of Riverside Drive and Fletcher, in the Silverlake area.
And I was not disappointed. The beef taco was everything I'd want a hard-shell beef taco to be -- freshly fried shell, nice tasting beef, a taco shell stuffed with cheese, lettuce and tomato, and served with a slightly watery but very tasty red chile salsa. I was actually pretty close to hard-shell taco nirvana. I've been looking for a good one anywhere in the vicinity east of La Brea for AGES, and just now found one in my own back yard.
Don't get me wrong . . . I adore a great, authentic carnitas, carne asada, el pastor, or sesos taco. But once in a while I find myself really wanting the old-school version of the taco, and I just found it, after eight years of living in my neighborhood.
The cheap breakfast at Rick's is awesome. (About $5 for a ton of food.) In fact, I think I'm gonna head there now..
Gosh, I didn't realize my post was so redundant! That's what I get for posting without reviewing what I'd written. The time to edit is past, unfortunately.
Wow I am glad to see Ricks on chowhounds. I have been eating there for years!!! They have great breakfast for anyone who is interested. On a Saturday and Sunday morning the place is packed with locals who know where the good food is. My personal favorite is the breakfast burrito with bacon. They have the best potatos!!! A really great place all around.
Ricks hours are not 24/7 for the dining room. The dining room i think closes around 11. I remember going late one night and it was closing.
A great place!