CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix debuts delectable new menu items

CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.
CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.(Jeff Popovich)
Updated: Mar. 23, 2022 at 11:00 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Anybody in the mood for... tacos?! Of course, you are! Well, CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix has some new tasty taco creations and more for you to check out next time you need to silence those stomach rumbles! The restaurant, located at the southwest corner of 40th Street and Camelback Road, has a bold new experience for diners with Latin-inspired appetizers, street-style tacos, and cocktails! Justly named, this taco joint takes crujiente, which means ‘crunchy’ or ‘crispy’ in Spanish, to a whole new level.

The setting at CRUjiente is a narrow but cozy and intimate ambiance, with the restaurant opening up more near the back (where the aromas of the kitchen will get those bellies rumbling!) People flocked in droves to get on the waitlist and patiently waited for their tables as servers maneuvered quickly from table to table to keep a healthy rotation in order. CRUjiente Tacos is a joint initiative by Co-Founder Jason Morris and Executive Chef Richard Hinojosa. The inception of CRUjiente Tacos came from one of Hinojosa’s friends.

“A really great friend of mine asked me one night if I had ever considered opening a taco restaurant. I stayed up all night writing out tons of ideas based on memories of food. Tacos are quite possibly the world’s most perfect food… The possibilities are endless. What better platform is there to share your story through food than a taco?” Hinojosa said.

The menu has your classic appetizers like chips and salsa, guac, and queso, but it has a new addition that makes a great kick-off to any meal! The Frijoles Blancos is a tantalizing little dish featuring tender grilled short rib that has the lightest of chars, giving it both an appealing image and flavor profile. The meat is paired with a chicharron salsa, adding depth and color to the plate with a medley of pickled onion, shishitos, and cotija cheese. The light but hearty plate is a wonderful appetizer to launch into the dining experience!

The Frijoles Blancos at CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Frijoles Blancos at CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.(Jeff Popovich)

Let’s talk tacos! You can either go crujiente (crunchy) or street taco style. Some even come served on a blue corn tortilla! If you’re checking out CRUjiente Tacos, you have to at least try one of the crunchy tacos! The Beef Crujiente, for example, is one packed delicious taco! Underneath the cabbage and Pico de Gallo mix is a world of spice, mouthwatering meat, and melted cheddar jack cheese. This taco gets the house hot sauce, which has a kick but controlled heat level, and pairs wonderfully with the ample supply of marinated beef. The presentation and overwhelming flavors make this a fun taco to eat and simply enjoy! This taco is a staple when it comes to crujiente! If you’re a fan of the street taco style, then some of the newer menu items might be up your alley!

And if you’re wondering what inspired these new creations, it all stems from Chef Hinojosa’s creativity and exploration of new food ideas!

“I am always thinking about flavor profiles and combinations of flavors and how I would translate those ideas into the menu here at CRU. I will say, product availability played a part with these new menu items,” Hinojosa said.

From left to right: Beef CRUjiente Taco, Seared Chicken Taco, and Grilled Pork Belly Taco.
From left to right: Beef CRUjiente Taco, Seared Chicken Taco, and Grilled Pork Belly Taco.(Jeff Popovich)

CRUjiente Tacos recently debuted a new Grilled Pork Belly Taco, Crispy Sweet Potato Taco, and Seared Chicken Taco! The Grilled Pork Belly was strong out the gate on flavor, even had a bit of crisp! It has a wide flavor profile with jalapeño, green onion, cilantro, and red curry sauce atop the wholesome pork belly. The sauce is surprisingly mild in heat, but it adds a unique twist! The thinly sliced fingerling potatoes are also mixed in, giving a nice buttery, starchy addition to this respectable taco.

The Seared Chicken really is seared to perfection and gets a fantastic spicy bean salad mixed up with the chicken. The spicy bean salad also has a medium heat but has a really nice zest to it as well. The chimichurri gives a nice earthy and garlic backend to lessen the heat factor, while the diced Fresno chili on top gives that initial bite and spice. Overall, the taco does an excellent job balancing the heat and flavor! The tortillas are quite durable as well, holding together without ripping or getting soggy from any of the sauces -- and they taste great!

And while these new menu items are flying out from the kitchen in high demand, guests can always look forward to more of Chef Hinojosa’s food inceptions.

“I try to change the menu 3 times a year. Hopefully, we can get back to doing our tacos of the week soon; that gives us something fun and new every week!” Hinojosa explained. Hinojosa added that future new menu items are always under development.

CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.
CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.(Jeff Popovich)

But wait, still have room for dessert? CRUjiente has a new dessert option that’s small (enough to eat guilt-free) and definitely sweet! Served as an empanada of sorts, the Banoffee Hand Pie is a warm fully-loaded pastry stuffed with diced bananas and dulce de leche. It’s a sweet ooey-gooey chocolatey and creamy delight! And comes served with whipped cream and cookie crumble to add that extra texture and crunch.

The Banoffee Hand Pie at CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Banoffee Hand Pie at CRUjiente Tacos in Phoenix, Arizona.(Jeff Popovich)

Next time you’re in the mood for tacos in an upbeat and classy environment, consider checking out CRUjiente Tacos! In such a fun atmosphere with delicious food, it’s a humbling experience to enjoy food told through the memories of Chef Hinojosa.

“Owning a restaurant is like any other business, I guess. It’s fun and exciting, exhausting and stressful all at the same time. But I love having the ability to be creative and tell my story through food, and I love that we get to be a part of people’s lives for an hour or two at a time, and hopefully, bring some joy to their day,” Hinojosa said.


3961 E Camelback Rd,

Phoenix, AZ 85018