I came home on Monday night simply unwilling to cook. Yep, I’m that lazy and unmotivated. Mark suggested Tu Casa, and while I adore that place, I wasn’t ready for our 450th visit to be achieved that night. Since he had his heart set on Latin American food I knew I had to come up with a like alternative, so I went out on a limb and suggested Taco Escobarr. I must say I’m not the biggest fan of NOSH, so I wasn’t expecting much from this sister establishment. I figured it would probably walk the line between bad Americanized tacos with yellow cheese and a bacon-dusted nightmare.
We arrived at 6 in the evening, just in time to miss happy hour. I felt that was an incredibly bad omen, but sat down anyway. There was a table open in the window so that made the bleak evening seem a little brighter because I love to people watch while I eat. Once seated, a very friendly waitress came right over to take our drink order, and since I missed happy hour I ordered plain tap water. Mark followed suit. I learned just what a cheapskate I can be when I miss happy hour by one minute.
The menu was small but adequate. Since I hadn’t eaten there before I was confused by the several different offerings of taco shells/accompaniments. I asked the waitress to explain, which she did and I felt it steered me in the right direction a little bit.
I went for the Puffy Taco, filled with lettuce, tomato, and cilantro. I ordered three different fillings to try out what they had to offer—picadillo, ancho chile pork, and chipotle chicken. I also ordered a side of Mexican crema, green hot salsa, and had them throw some cheese on top. I love cholesterol, what can I say?
When my meal arrived, it was sans cheese and sans crema. I wasn’t really happy with this, but our waitress was great and she went right back to the kitchen and fixed the issue. When it returned mere moments later it looked perfect!
The Puffy Shell was rather tasty and held up quite well with the fillings. It reminded me of a hand-held taco salad. It wasn’t greasy, just light and airy, but it was lacking in flavor a bit. Luckily the fillings made up for that. The pork and chicken fillings were by far my favorite. The picadillo had a bit too much cinnamon in it for my liking and I really didn’t think the beef was that good. I also was upset that what was presented to be Mexican crema was nothing more than regular old sour cream. I think they need to update their menu if they aren’t going to be delving out the real deal.
Mark decided to order the crispy corn taco filled with onion, cilantro, and queso. He went for the crema on the side and three different fillings as well—carne asada (again with the beef), chipotle chicken, and ancho chile pork.
His were pan-fried crispy and reminiscent of a mini-quesadilla. The cheese was melted and deliciously gooey. They were piping hot and very tasty. He won the taste off because I definitely preferred his choice of shell over mine. He said that he felt the carne asada was the best filling, but I really loved the ancho chile pork in the crispy corn shell.
Overall, I think that Taco Escobarr is doing a lot of things right. They have a small menu and they are mastering that. It’s also fairly inexpensive, we only spent $16. For Americanized versions of tacos they were really well done and I wouldn’t hesitate to eat here again or recommend it to others. If you are looking for a cheap and quick sit down dinner I think this is a great option in Portland, I just beg them to get real crema.