Friday, December 2, 2011

A Milkshake & Taco Reunion

After an inadvertent absence from our eating adventures, GWG recently met up at Nanataco to rekindle our love of food at a place we had yet to try. After hearing mixed reviews from several sources, we wanted to see for ourselves with the hope that a couple of months might have worked out some of the kinks.

The converted garage building gives the restaurant a unique setting with bright walls that are a reminder of its previous resident, The Fish Shack. On this lunch break the weather was ideal for throwing up the garage doors, creating a transitional indoor/outdoor space. Business was steady during our visit and we noticed a mix of customers, from moms n’ babes to 9-to-5 escapees.

The menu offers variations on standard Mexican American fare (quesadillas, burritos, tacos, etc), while giving the opportunity to customize your meal with a variety of less expected ingredients (such as goat cheese and “dirty meats”). With so many combinations we studied the menu carefully, and then decided on a selection from across the board.
To start, we couldn’t pass up the chili relleno stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and veggies. This ended up being the overall favorite, largely because of our shared fixation for goat cheese. The breading was coarse but crumbly, creating a nice texture against the soft pepper and slightly sweet interior. Served with crisp lettuce, pico de gallo and a handful of chips, the combination of flavors made this dish stand out. We both agreed it could easily work as a meal in itself.

For our main dishes one of us went for the torta with duck meat and the other chose the fish tacos. The torta was a crisp sandwich layered with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno mayo, guacamole and duck. The meat – billed as house smoked – was very flavorful when eaten alone, but the combination of condiments overwhelmed the sandwich. The crispy bread was a nice alternative to the more common tortilla dishes.
Fish tacos are a classic and best kept simple-Nanataco’s version does a nice job of sticking to this principle. Available fried or grilled, we went with grilled served on durable, homemade corn tortillas. The fish was soft and flaky with a subtle seared flavor, and topped with tasty mango salsa and a touch of lettuce to add a nice sweet and crunchy contrast. This is a dish we would order again.
To round everything out and fill in for the margaritas that we skipped, we tried two of the milkshakes—roasted plantain and Mexican chocolate. The plantain version was very subtle with a nutty but bland flavor that faded quickly on the tongue. Normally big fans of Mexican chocolate, the second shake was dominated by cinnamon, hiding any hint of chocolate and creating what tasted like a liquid atomic fireball without the heat. While there was something enjoyable about moving between the cool, sweet taste of the shakes and the spicy, exotic flavors of the food, we think they might work a little more on the flavor combinations.
Overall, we had a nice experience, but there seems to be something lacking in a few of the details. The salsa bar looks nice but didn’t blow us over—the salsa verde was one of the more flavorful we’ve tried but the pico was pretty standard and the chipotle was overwhelmed by a bitter taste. The taco dish was served with a standard side of beans and rice—the black beans were adequate but the rice was bland and had congealed into the shape of the scoop from which it was served. However, none of this was enough to scare us away and the possibilities on the menu will be enough to lure us back.

Beyond that, it was a nice reunion over enjoyable food and GWG is excited to be back at the eating game!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Girls. I haven't been yet and have been looking forward to it. Goat cheese lovers? Me, too!! I will make a visit very soon!