Taco Escobarr (aka Taco Escobar)
the good, the bad, and the puffy
For all the hype leading up to the opening of Taco Escobarr (548 Congress Street, Portland, ME) the new restaurant under-deliver in taste, flavor, and ambiance. As a fan of Nosh Kitchen Bar I walked away with one word describing my experience: bland.
Portland does not suffer from a lack of Latin American cusine. The Old Port, and surrounding area, are littered with places like El Rayo, Wild Burritos, Zapoteca, Tu Casa, Mesa Verde, Taco Trio, Amigos, etc... it is appearant that Mainers love it. The ones that are seemingly successful tend to differentiate themselves with a focused menu and flavor.
We figured one way to get a good sampling of Taco Escobarr was to order three different tacos, on three different shells. Almost exhasperated, the bar keep made sure to point out that the way we were ordering did not conform to their pricing structure; a fact hard to miss since the menu is simple to read. It's not surprising to me that a fair number of patrons must question their taco pricing policy; I wonder what most have to say about the $5 rice and beans.
Before the tacos arrived, we saw a warning sign from the three girls sitting next to us: picked apart tacos and left-over shells. When our two orders arrived (6 tacos total) it became pretty obvious: greasy shells.
To be quite honest, I am not sure which one was the crispy and which one was the puffy - all I know is both delivered a mouthful of oily broth with each bite. The fillings left much to be desired, with somewhat seasoned meats paired with lackluster condiments.
The means by which the condiments are paired was bizarre to the both of us. Rather than match the filling, they are lined up with the choice of shell. To me, that creates a bit of a dilemma: how am I to choose the right compliment to carne asada when I am slightly inebriated?
We finished our meal, washed it down with some great beer from Maine Brewing Company, and crossed the street to Nosh Kitchen Bar. There, a few more drinks, fries, and their specials rounded off the evening. Nosh is my backup when dinner fails, it's ironic I had to use it with their other restaurant.