Preview: Broken English Taco Pub

This funky taco joint from Chicago brings the fiesta to downtown Indy.
Street tacos meet street art at the new Broken English Taco Pub on South Meridian Street, where the funky restaurant/bar is making itself right at home in the former Tilted Kilt space.

Chicago has three Broken English locations, but the Indianapolis operation marks the franchise’s first venture outside the Windy City—and ranks largest of the four, clocking in at 8,500 square feet of curvy red leather booths, colorful lights and dangling pinatas, and graffiti-ed walls masterminded by mixed-media artist J.C. Rivera. In what is perhaps a nod to the space’s days as Jillian’s, a small side room hosts pop-a-shot hoops, a pinball machine, and other diversions, like a DJ spinning tunes on the weekends to keep the downtown party going.

In the kitchen, Chef Frank Valdez has composed a well-edited short list of tacos, tortilla chips with accompanying dips and toppings, and a few entrées. Guacamole arrives garnished with sliced radish and pickled onion, and eight hand-held taco options cover beef, pork, chicken, fish, and veggies. All tacos come two to an order for $7 or $8, except on Taco Tuesday, when you can load up on singles for $2 apiece.

The carne asada taco offers a generous amount of grilled steak bites topped with a light sprinkling of chopped onion and cilantro; meanwhile, grilled pineapple plays nicely with the sweet notes of the pork belly al pastor. Doubling up on the tortilla wraps makes eating less messy—a thoughtful detail—and customers are welcome to douse their plates at will with bottles of a nutty pepita-fortified salsa verde and a zingy red sauce, both made in house.

Churros are the only dessert choice, and a tasty one—a quartet of cinnamon-sugary fried pastries atop salted-caramel gelato with chocolate sauce and spicy serrano pepper jam, all served in a goblet with spoons for sharing.

To drink? Margaritas, of course, though Broken English also maintains a respectable cocktail list, beer selection, and tequilas by the shot. Just sip slowly. The easy-drinking house margarita is deceptively potent, and can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

Broken English Taco Pub. 141 S. Meridian St., 317-362-0072. 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily.