Taco Boy's

Carne asada. Grilled steak, chopped. One of the main taco proteins in the Valley. And one of the simple-but-true barometers of a taqueria's prowess. Since opening downtown in fall 2019, Juan Cornejo and Juan Cornejo Jr. have been grilling some of metro Phoenix's best Sonoran-style carne asada. Over mesquite charcoal from Sonora, Mexico, ruby sails of carne asada spit and crackle on long grill gates, charring, perfuming the eatery with smoke. The Cornejos rain on salt. They flip cuts to sizzle the raw top sides, drum newly finished steak with knife strokes, then press juicy pieces into fresh tortillas, also from Sonora. At Taco Boy's, a few meats come a few ways, including as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and vampiros. Cabeza and tripa both rival carne asada. So does a tray of creamy, smoke-kissed beans. The grill and graffiti and generous salsa-and-topping bar conjure a backyard grill-out — where the Cornejo family recipes come from originally. New Normal: They often keep the doors open, which makes for a breezy dining room. A small, fully outdoor patio is also on-site.

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