Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Everything about the branding for Mean Miner’s Smoked Street Tacos suggests that you’re going to be in for a competent, if at least partially commodified experience—the restaurant has all the slick, professional allure of a Chipotle or R Taco, usually the kiss of death for anyone seeking out the deep flavors and textures of soulful antojitos.
But when you walk in through the elaborately decorated and utterly on-brand front door of this Eagan-based strip mall restaurant, you realize that there’s quite a lot going on. The smell and sizzle of scratch cooking fills the room and, when we went for an early lunch in mid-October, the fast-moving line stretched from the front counter all the way through the restaurant. As cute as the branding may be, the menu mostly sticks to an array of recognized classics, including a barbacoa taco with guasacaca (avocado-based sauce) and profound amounts of raw onion and cilantro that would hold up just fine on East Lake Street.
The dish that really caught our eye was the restaurant’s Jackfruit Taco ($4), which was similarly sauced up with avocado salsa and had a pibil-style depth of spice that brought the tender chunks of jackfruit toward a smoked pork-type flavor experience. Liberal use of cilantro and tender-chewy corn tortillas added to the overall appeal, making this one of the best vegetarian-friendly taco dishes we’ve ever tried.
THE DISH: Jackfruit Taco, $4
THE PLACE: Mean Miner’s Tacos, 1278 Lone Oak Rd., Eagan, MN, 55121
THE REASON: The depth of spice and texture balance on this vegetarian taco would leave even a confirmed carnivore happy with this lunch or dinner choice.