If you're a vegetarian, are close to a vegetarian or have ever met a vegetarian, you are likely aware that Houston is not a particularly veggie-friendly city. Mexican food, in particular, is tough if the idea of lard in your beans or on the griddle gives you pause. Or if you want a taco filled with more than lettuce and tomatoes.
But I recently had an overfilling meal at the new North Main Street location of Fusion Taco that contained nothing that even resembled meat. The newest addition is the seared Brussels sprout taco, which folds crispy leaves with carrots, onions and cilantro flavored with a soy vinaigrette. Looking for something heavier? The cremini queso melt pairs the mushrooms with roasted garlic and jack cheese.
But my favorites were centered around fried tofu, and not even for the obvious truth that everything fried is at least sort of delicious by default. My favorite was the agedashi tofu flavor, which has nothing in common with typical agedashi tofu (which is served in a dashi broth with bonito flakes) except for crispy cubes of soy. A brothy, bonito-filled taco wouldn't taste nearly as good as this, with its lightly spiced peanut sauce and thick thatch of gingery cabbage slaw. The same crispy tofu is the hero of the tofu masala taco. It remains crisp despite being tossed in a tangy, tomato-based tikka masala sauce and topped with a blob of crème fraîche for an additional creamy note.
All of the more than a dozen side dishes on the menu are also vegetarian (the only exception, the option to add steak or chicken to the queso), from guacamole, salsa or hummus with house-fried chips to cumin-cilantro rice. But I was particularly charmed by the kale and mango salad. Tossed in a peanut vinaigrette, some bites are acidic, others a bit spicy. Almost all of them are punctuated by the sweet squish of fresh mango. It's one of the best salads around, especially for its $3.25 price tag, making it a true Meatless Monday score.