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Tito's Tacos vs Henry's

  • l

I am a Norcal Chowhound who visits Tito's whenever I am in the LA area. I was wondering how Henry's may or may not compare with the Culver City institution? Much thanks in advance for any insights.

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  1. I've only tried the Tito's in Anaheim and that was back in the 1980's. I wasn't that impressed and wondered why everybody thought this was so great. I've been by the Culver City location but with the long lines I have no desire to wait for bad food.

    I have never heard of Henry's. Please enlighten me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RUBulldog

      Oprah did a show last week on favorite foods and the Olsen twins chose Henry's tacos in NoHo as their favorite. This makes perfect sense as they do not eat, so they probably have not tasted the food. Perhaps they have really good Diet Coke? Henry's is good if you miss your mom's tacos back in Iowa and your mom is not a very good cook.

      1. re: JJ

        makes perfect sense as they do not eat much lol

    2. Henry's is awesome for what it is: classic gringo hardshell tacos with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, & tomato. Combo burritos with the same cheese, beans, onions & hot sauce. And it's been the same since it opened in 1961.

      I couldn't live without it. The long lines at seemingly any time of day confirm that others feel the same way as well. I like it better than Tito's; had I grown up on the Westside rather than half a mile from Henry's, I might say the opposite.

      A true L.A. classic.

      1. Henry's (NoHo) had me at 'combo burrito' when I was 14. I first tried Tito's in my 30's but it was clearly too late.

        1. Henry's all the way!
          Our family has been going over the hill for Henry's since I was a pup.

          1. They are both disgusting. Why not go to Taco Bell for the same food but cheaper?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Jorge R

              You've obviously not eaten at Henry's if you'd actually compare it to Taco Bell. Henry's is what a Taco Bell strives, but cannot hope, to be.

              1. re: Jack Flash

                And you obviously don't know real Mexican food if you like junk like that

                1. re: Jorge R

                  Well, you might be right, Jorge.

                  or, on the other hand, he just likes a good gringo taco every now and then because of its own attributes. i don't think anyone would really argue that tito's or henry's is good mexican food. personally, i don't like that stuff (i've tried both) and prefer a great taco truck or tacqueria where i can get some real tacos (lengua, al pastor, carnitas). but every once in a while, i admit it. i go to taco bell for a chalupa.

                  by the way, i'm chinese, and i laugh at those who enjoy pf chang's. but hey, every once in a while, i'll sneak into panda express for some orange chicken because, authentic or not, it's tasty!

                  1. re: Jorge R

                    And obviously you didn't bother to read my original post on the subject.

                    What part of the description "classic gringo hardshell taco" reads or can be construed as reading, "real Mexican food?"

                    Gringo = NOT MEXICAN.

                    1. re: Jorge R

                      Jorge, I have been eating at Henry's since the late 1960's as a kid. And no I am not still going there for nostalgia reasons. I spend my hard earned money at places I enjoy eating the food. And I enjoy eating at Henry's. I have never seen a sign there saying "Authentic Mexican Food". Why the arguement about authenticity. Their food and recipes have not changed since they opened. This is the style of Gringo Mexican food they decided to create in the time period they opened. They are not claiming anything about their food. It is just a corner Gringo Taco joint, nothing more and nothing less.

                  2. re: Jorge R

                    Absolutely agree, Jorge R. Haven't tried Henry's but wouldn't give Tito's to my dog. And I only live blocks away.

                  3. Thank you for the responses...too many *haters* in SoCal--that is why I live up north. If you have ever been to Tito's you will note that it is not all gringos eating there; could it just be Mexicans with "bad taste"?

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: larkmud

                      Maybe because Mexican food on the westside of LA is crap in general? Glad to hear you are going back north to equally bad Mexican food, you were hogging up my spot on the freeway.

                      1. re: Giulio

                        I think if you look over the board you will find some excellent westside rec's for Mexican food.

                        1. re: WLA

                          Here's a link to one recent thread on the subject.

                          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                          1. re: WLA

                            Thanks for the link WLA, but I am more than happy with the Mexican food in my part of town (eastside).

                            Going to west LA for Mexican food is like going to Idaho for Chinese, it just doesn't make much sense.

                            1. re: Giulio

                              Just in case you come to the beach some hot summer day and are too ravenous to make it home in the traffic you'll be prepared to find something great to eat on this side of town.

                              1. re: Giulio

                                1)true enough: there's no reason to travel west for mexican food if you live on the eastside. but it's NOT like going to Idaho for Chinese. quit with that regionalist crap already! as in most of SoCal, there are lots and lots of Mexicans and other Latin Americans living and working west of the 405 and, hence, there's a lot of good food in said region.

                                2)tito's: i don't really care for their tacos but love the burritos. personal taste aside, why do 'hounders always find it necessary to rant about Tito's lack of authenticity??? Tito's is a first-class proprietor of north-american/californian-style hard-shell tacos and flour-tortilla-burritos. it's comfort food. get over it!

                                ok i feel less pissed now. thanks.

                                1. re: est

                                  Taco Hell makes the same claim!

                        2. re: larkmud

                          for some, enough lard or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil will make ANYTHING taste good.
                          for those folks saturating cardboard in cheap grease would qualifiy the dish as tasty.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            And then there are the people, myself included, who think that "[just] enough lard" -- "better for you" than butter (see the NY Times piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/12/opi... ) -- adds an essential flavor (and texture, in many cases) to most Mexican and American, especially Southern, food. You don't identify the people you're thinking about who cook cardboard in lard, but it can't be the fries at In N Out Burger, because that's one cardboard item that doesn't improve!

                            By the way, here's a link for those of us who didn't know about Henry's.

                            Henry's Tacos
                            11401 Moorpark St, North Hollywood, CA 91602

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Don't go equating or conflating hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially or completely, with lard. Lard's a natural product, and is an essential part of many cuisines. Crisco is just a trans-fat laden blob of bleah.

                          2. I like Henry's, Tito's is good but it's differnt kind of taco than Henry's. I like the prices at Tito's better, I like the food at both, but the salsa at Tito's is horrible and the sauce at Henry's is the reason to go there. Henry's is overpriced but if it was cheap and I ate there all the time it would probably ruin it for me.

                            1. Titos is in a league of its own. It's not fair to compare Henry's. I have heard so much about Henry's lately, I had to try it. I had a soft shell beef taco, a hard shell beef taco and a beef and bean burrito. All I can say is,,,,WEAK. What a let down. I think taco bell and del taco are better. As for Tito's, there is a reason for the long lines. The tacos are awesome, and so are their shredded beef burritos.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: RobertP3635

                                I am a big Tito's fan as well but as dumb as I am, I am not dumb enough to think it is "authentic Mexican cuisine" and should base my judgment on it as such, even though so many folks on this board think that is how it should be done. Tito's is great for what it is, a fairly greasy but extremely satisfying and tasty junk food that I get cravings for. Why do so many people on Chowhound think food has to be "authentic?" Isn't it more important that it tastes good??

                                1. re: monkuboy

                                  "Why do so many people on Chowhound think food has to be "authentic?" Isn't it more important that it tastes good??"

                                  Abso-Damn-lutely. To each his own. Reading through this thread makes me want to laugh at the notions that it has to be authentic to be good; that if it's not good to one person, that this is a dictate to all; and that there's always someone around who has to take pot-shots at the Westside - "manlihood" envy. I know "real" Mexicans who on one hand, must prepare their own tripas and barbacoa to suit their exacting tastes, yet on the other hand, will stand in line at Tito's and devour a beef and cheese burrito with extreme joy. Todo bajo control.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    The Tito threads are always entertaining.

                                    It fascinates me that some people can't separate the Mex American style of Titos from say authentic style like that of Marisco Chente.

                                    It's like not being able to see the difference between WWF wrestling and UFC.

                                    I have no problem eating a Titos taco and I have no problem eating Flor de Calabaza in a Bank of America parking lot. I just would never compare the two as being the same kind of fruit. I would never expect the criteria of the food to be same and try to judge them on the same level. I simply can see and appreciate each place as different as they are for what they are.

                                    Comparing Tito's and Henry's is not as simple as it would seem even though both are Mex/American style.

                                    Tito's are whole deep fried tacos and Henry's are hard shelled tacos filled with ground beef. I find both places to be perfectly fine when your in the mood for an mex/american style taco.

                                    For the OP Henry's is a nicer version of a regular Taco Bell taco.

                                    1. re: burntwater

                                      As a former baseball fan, I remember my first visit to a Japanese major league baseball game. My expectations were that everything would be like what one would experience here in the US, just with (for the most part) Japanese players, and Japanese fans filling the stadium. The reality was almost like living the movie, "Lost in Translation." The demeanor and sportsman-like conduct was, well, sportsman-like, almost to the point of monotony. The attendants were not a disparate stadium of individuals, but masses of energetic fans that joyfully cheered in synchronized battle cries, each section being led on by their own designated cheerleaders. The food? Obligatory hot dogs could be had but why settle for that when sushi and bento boxes were more the norm, along with takoyaki and manju. After all was said and done, one is left asking, "was it truly major league baseball that I just experienced?" I could easily say that while this baseball experience only faintly resembled what major league baseball is here, I had a great time just the same. I think the same goes for food, particularly in LA, where just about everyone has a past linked to somewhere far beyond and at least some level of assimilation.

                                      I really admire and respect the passion and deep knowledge of posters like Eat Nopal and streetgourmetla, for their intimate understanding of Mexican cuisines borders on encyclopedic but with great emotion. This assures far lesser hounds like me that I will always have great sources to turn to when and where authentic (and of course truly delicious) renditions of this revered cuisine call to me.

                                      On the other hand, places like Tito's and Henry's (of which I've never been) are cultural institutions not for being true to authenticity (obviously), but rather their translative savvy as well as holding fast to what works for them. I was a fan of Tito's in my youth, so I hold no grudges against them. But like baseball, it's now in my past.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        I'll bet I have much deeper hands-on knowledge of certain cuisines -- Southern U.S. and Italian, e.g. -- than the great majority of posters here, but I don't feel a need to call the uninformed either ignoranti or pochos or even ponchos ;-). I hope you don't really mean that you think of yourself as a "lesser hound," bulavinaka, and that you'll come to see this board as a journey for everyone, especially including "experts," and not merely a podium.

                                        There's no place here to go on and on about sports, but I hope you'll get back into baseball -- Bud Selig can't be the commissioner forever. There has to be another Bart Giamatti out there somewhere.

                                        Now, Tito's here I come!

                                        1. re: Harry Nile

                                          Thanks, Harry. As for my standing, I'm a mere Chowpup on these boards, but always eager to learn and try new things. As for baseball, and for pro sports in general, unlike Chow recs, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. Sportsmanship is no longer the rule - it's the exception; players are dangerous role models; and the whole business of sports is no longer a part of it - it's everything. But who knows, maybe things must get worse before they do get better, right? :)

                                        2. re: bulavinaka

                                          Why are you a "former" baseball fan???

                                          1. re: godvls

                                            The likes of players like Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez have left me wanting for the old days...

                                      2. re: bulavinaka

                                        The more I think about this string and those about Tito's and Henry's in the past, the more I realize we are sort of violating the sanctity (too strong a word, I know) of the CHOW - these places really aren't about the food as much as they are about what they represent:
                                        - Henry's has stuff you could get at Taco Bell in its 1970-ish incarnation. Gringo tacos, burritos, and importantly, taco burgers (remember the Bellburger?). Taco meat, bun, lettuce, tomato, hot sauce, cheese, and yes, mustard. It's a nostalgia thing for people who were there and who were not
                                        -Similar for Tito's - yes the food is not exceptional in any way, but it's comfort food. I stay away from the mystery meat and order bean burritos with green and red salsa in copious quantities -shades of 1978 when I lived in walking distance.

                                        And for someone in the string who was worried about the lines, I always counsel - go inside the doors on the right, the wait is ALWAYS shorter. Newbies don't usually know this and think they have to wait out front. Go sit out in the back to eat (now you're still outdoors) and listen to the SD fwy and the PA at the Volvo dealership.

                                        My personal tip for bean and cheese burrito consuming is as follows: find the biggest chip they've given you, flat hopefully, and place it at the base of the burrito while you nosh - it will trap runaway beans.

                                        Best to all.

                                        1. re: swimfin

                                          I am Eat_Nopal and I endorse this message. All I can say is that it takes a lot of maturity & confidence to see a part of you, a part of your culture - especially when you are part of an underclass - undergo such radical & grotesque change that is embraced by those in the dominant culture.

                                          When I lived in Mar Vista... I had a very hard time dealing with Tito's success. Of course that was back before Tacomiendo, Monte Alban & Taqueria Sanchez had a cross section following. Now that L.A. has places like Babita, Mariscos Chente, Moles La Tia etc., that are all thriving... and that the city's Mexican gastronomic IQ is vastly increased in the last 10 years... I can live with the success of Tito's for what it is.

                                          I still have nostalgic memories of the Chop Suey cafe inside Grand Central Market, Newberry's, Clifton's... and I guess Tito's is the equivalent for many.... nothing wrong with that.

                                          I can't say that I like Tito's, I gave it two chances... realized I vastly prefer JIB for greasy American tacos (Abuelita please don't flog me for admitting my JIB problem).... and can make a better version of Picadillo tacos myself... but I accept that some people are going to like it.... even Chowhounds.

                                  2. I used to live fairly close to Henry's and now live fairly close to Tito's and have tried them both. I consider Henry's to be the hands down winner. The sauce is tasty and the shell, taco meat, and beans are all of good quality (using the Taco Bell scale, not the authentic Mexican food scale). Tito's, on the other hand, has some pretty cardboard like taco shells, unremarkable taco meat, and an I-could-care-less sauce. I am utterly baffled by the lines there. I miss having the Henry's option.

                                    4 Replies
                                      1. re: GuidoTKP

                                        Rick's on Fletcher and Riverside.

                                        1. re: lolabelow

                                          If the ante is to be upped, Rick's Drive In on Walnut in Pasadena. Ultimate Gringo Mexican ( and burgers, etc. if you are so inclined). Spuderito - one of a kind,

                                          1. re: swimfin

                                            Heh. Just hearing the word "Spuderito" makes me grin.

                                      2. Been to Tito's. Been To Henry's...who cares...they both fill a need...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: flylice2x

                                          Gringo tacos: unacceptable cultural imperialism.

                                          Gaijin sushi: kicky, yummy.

                                          What's wrong with this picture?

                                          1. re: Akitist

                                            "What's wrong with this picture?"

                                            That you don't take up the terrible injustice of tasteless (and unspicy) Thai food for the Farang and the conundrum of the disappearing Chop Suey for the 1950's Laowai (or is it Gwailo?).

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Only room in my bonnet for a limited number of bees. It ain't just Farang that get unspicy Thai food served to them. Stay way away from that joint on Tujunga and Camarillo in NH. 1950s Laowai isn't on the radar screen, chop suey or otherwise.

                                        2. I was embarrassed at Henry's tacos. Absolutely meritless. A place like that in Chicago would be burned to the ground the night after it opened.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: brutusln

                                            I don't know... take this from someone who believes Chicago has the best concentration of Mexican restaurants in the U.S. (I have had some truly terrible food in Chicago as well)