I travel to Manhattan a lot, and since 9/11 have found Amtrak's Acela service out of Back Bay Station a far more pleasant and hassle-free way to get there than flying. Not to praise the virtues of Logan Airport food, but grabbing a bite at the station before boarding was never one of train's advantages. You had Dunkies, convenience-store snacks, and little else. Thank goodness Burritos and Tacos To Go!, a tiny take-out stand just inside the station's Dartmouth Street entrance, has opened to give travelers a fresher, healthier alternative to the Amtrak's overpriced dining-car food.
The menu is short: tacos, burritos, and grande burritos. Fillings include chicken, steak, carnitas (pork), vegetables, or the tandem of rice and beans. The taco ($2.25) has the proper foundation of two corn tortillas, avoiding my taco bane, the falling-apart single-layer job (looking at you, La Verdad). It includes filling, lettuce, and a thin, mild hot sauce. The burrito ($3.75) uses a large flour tortilla and includes filling, lettuce, and hot sauce. The grande burrito ($4.75) is even bigger, adding shredded cheese, rice, and beans (choice of black beans or pintos) to the basic burrito. Add-ons include a surprisingly generous and homemade-tasting side of guacamole (a deal at $0.75), sour cream ($0.55), cheese ($0.55), and extra meat ($1.25). But even the basic versions are generously stuffed; these are good values for money. The three-man operation keeps the lines moving quickly at lunch.
The meats make the taqueria, and Burritos and Tacos To Go! does them well, with nicely salty marinades, if not as much grease as I'd like (perhaps a concession to portability). The carnitas don't use the traditional gyros-like preparation (chunks of meat stacked and pressed into a roast for slicing off a vertical rotisserie, often with pineapple for juiciness), but taste like a leaner pork loin cubed small, marinated, and grilled. The steak is tender and gristle-free, the chicken lean-cooked, moist thigh. The veggie option is a mix of steamed broccoli, carrots, and summer squash. Beyond that, there's only a dull assortment of American soft drinks ($1.00–$1.75), bags of good tortilla chips ($1.75), and flavored popcorn ($2.00). The station has bench seating, but most customers take theirs to go. Given the humble menu and unlikely setting, Burritos and Tacos To Go! probably won't make many diners' must-try lists, but for commuters and nearby workers, it's a fresh-tasting bargain.
Burritos and Tacos To Go! | Located inside Back Bay Station at 145 Dartmouth Street, Boston. Open Monday through Friday, from 11 am to 7 pm. No phone.