Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More Nick's Crispy Tacos


Yes, I went back to Nick's Crispy Tacos.  Even though after my first visit, I said I wouldn't go back.

Why?  I've still heard good things about the place, and I was really craving fried fish, which I didn't try on my first visit.  This wasn't quite enough to make me return but then .... they ran a new LevelUp promotion, $10!  I could get the fried fish taco I wanted, for free.  I couldn't resist using my LevelUp credits!

My entire experience was pretty much the same as the first time.  The bathroom wasn't very clean, the salsa bottles were sticky, but the staff were friendly, LevelUp was welcomed and worked with no problems, and the food arrived quickly.  But, it wasn't very good.  This time, I swear, I'm not going back ...

By the way, if you want some LevelUp credits, you can join with my code (V47MSA) and get $5 to use anywhere, in addition to the venue credits they offer.  https://www.thelevelup.com/join/V47MSA
Small Horchata.  $2.
A few years ago, I had an office mate who loved horchata.  Whenever it was offered anywhere, he always talked about it.  Somehow, this got it in my head that I might also like horchata.  Since then, I often order it, wherever I see it.  But ... I rarely like it.  It always just seems too ricey, and not refreshing.  That said, there have been a few occasions when I have liked it, either because it was more aqua fresca like and thinner, or because the spicing was particularly good.

This was not one of those cases.  It tasted ... like rice.  Kinda thick.  Some cinnamon flavor, but not much.  Some sweetness, but not much.  Just pretty unremarkable, but since I'm not really much of a horchata drinker, I don't claim any expertise here.  I wouldn't get it again.
Pescado Taco.  $4.95.
The first time I went to Nick's, I went for $2 Taco Tuesday, and the seafood tacos were not an option.  This time, I was able to pick my first choice, the Pescado Taco.  Described as "baja style fried fish in a corn tortilla with salsa, lime mayonnaise, cilantro, cabbage & onions".

I was excited for this, as I've had a thing for fried fish since I visited the east coast over the summer and had some amazing fish and chips.  I haven't really found fried fish in the Bay Area that has even come close to comparing, although I tried pretty hard for a while.

Within a few minutes, it arrived on my table, in the same plastic red basket as my first taco.  I was again struck by the size.  They make seriously large tacos!  Like the pollo asado taco I had on my first visit, it came wrapped up with two corn tortillas.  They were exactly the same, soft, slight corn flavor, pretty unremarkable.

The filling of this was completely different however, as the non-seafood tacos are filled with beans and pico de gallo, neither of which were very good in my previous taco.  This one instead came with some cabbage, cilantro, and red onion as the main filling.  The cabbage and cilantro were pretty much lost, but the red onion ... it stuck out, and not in a good way.  There was a lot of it, and the slices were large. It was very sharp red onion.  I felt like one of the judges on Top Chef or Chopped, I forget which, who always freaks out when people use too much raw red onion.  It just ruined the entire slaw mix for me, it was all I tasted.

There was also some mayo, which I could see, but didn't really taste.  Apparently it was lime flavored, which I didn't detect.  I also squeezed the lime garnish on top, which gave a bit of flavor.  It also said there was salsa in the taco, which I didn't taste, but given how flavorless their salsas were before, this didn't surprise me.  I also tried adding more of the sticky squeeze bottle salsas to my taco, to give it some kick, but they again were pretty flavorless.  Even Taco Bell had better tasting salsa!

The fish was two fairly large chunks.  They were incredibly fried.  The batter was very thick, and very oily.  It didn't have a great flavor, but was pretty crispy.  There was way too much of the batter however, and it seemed like far too many of my bites contained only batter, no fish.  What fish I did have was just generic white fish, with no flavor that I could taste.  Not fishy or anything bad, but also not buttery or good either.  Really unremarkable.

This just wasn't very good.  The fish and the cabbage mix in the one from Rubio's was much better, and theirs is only $2.99, rather than $4.95.  And Rubio's includes it in their Taco Tuesday, for only $1.50!  My favorite fried fish taco is still from TropisueƱo, which blows this one away with its incredible slaw.  And that one is $1 cheaper, and comes with chips and the huge salsa and condiments bar.

Basically, this one was the most expensive, not a single component of it was better than anywhere else I've tried, and it was pretty flavorless.  I wouldn't get it again.
Black Bean & Grilled Corn Taco Salad, with Carne Asada.   $7.95.
Ojan asked me to bring him home a taco salad, and of course, I snuck a few bites.  I don't think he noticed, as this was a massive salad.  They offer a base taco salad of "romaine lettuce, corn, black beans, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, cabbage & guacamole tossed in a tomatillo/rojo vinaigrette", and then you can top it with any of the different taco fillings.  He went for carne asada.

The lettuce, cilantro, onion, cabbage mix was pretty boring.  It got soggy very quickly from the large amount of dressing.  Definitely over-dressed.  There were generic black beans, the same ones I'd not liked in my taco, and a few kernels of unremarkable corn.  I didn't try the guacamole since I'm allergic to avocado.

The description didn't mention it, but it was also topped with a ton of fried tortilla strips.  They added a nice crunch, but there were far too many of them.  They also lacked any seasoning, I'd have liked them to have had more salt.

The carne asada was actually pretty good.  Flavorful, moist, decent quality meat.  The best of the proteins I've tried so far.

The base salad was $6.50, which seems way too pricy for not the highest quality salad ingredients, even if it was large.  The carne asada added $1.45 to the price, which seemed ok as the meat was quality Niman Ranch, but overall, this was just kinda expensive and not very good.
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