Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guapos Tacos

Guapos Tacos should be good. It's part of the Garces Group, after all, bringing Jose Garces' prestige and big name to street-food. The truck looks promising enough-- covered in hexagons of colorful beer bottle caps, it's bright without being gaudy, an understated, clean and unpretentious look by way of recycled Heinekens. The modern Mexican menu is simple, too. The best food trucks, like the best restaurants, tend to have shorter, uncluttered menus. The service is all right; not overly friendly, but certainly not standoffish.

And then there are the prices. $6 for guacamole. $8 for two duck tacos. This would be acceptable if the food were good enough and the portions big enough. However, based on what I ordered, it isn't and they aren't. And while I'm sure this is justified on some level as a brand-name mark-up, part of the point of trucks is avoiding too-high prices. Running a truck is inherently cheaper than running a restaurant; this allows them to charge less for more food (aside from differences in ingredient quality).

I ordered the Chipotle short rib (sliced radishes, white onion, cilantro and cheese) for $7, expecting if not a feast, at least enough to constitute a full meal. What I got were two small soft shell tacos, which were cold and soaked in runny, dull sauce. It was pretty boring to bite into--the radishes weren't crunchy, there was no punch of bright flavor, and it wasn't even spicy. I'm veering into Woody Allen-irony territory here ("the food was terrible, and the portions were so small!"), but the disappointment of a tepid taco was made worse by the fact that I was still hungry afterward. I'd recommend saving your money and heading somewhere else.


  1. My crush on all things Garces pre-dates his Iron Chef fame. I've thought on more than one occasion he could probably serve me a piece of cardboard and with the right spices I would probably find a way to defend it and call it delicious. SO...I was super duper excited to hear that Guapos Tacos would be pulling up to the Clark Park farmers market last week. Considering it was the Baltimore Ave Dollar Stroll the price tag for my Chipotle Short Rib tacos seemed even pricer BUT I didn't mind b/c I just knew it would be worth it. While it was good, disappointingly that's all is was. It wasn't great or fantastic, it was just good. I actually commented to my other half that at the other half of the order that it seemed overly salty and sadly devoid of any smoky chipotle flavor.

    From now on I think my tacos from a truck will *only* be purchased from DonMemo who parks on 38th/Chestnut.

  2. But you only tried one thing! Maybe the others are better!

  3. It's true. They could be. But based on the quality of this experience, I'd be seriously wary about trying anything else.



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