#16. Flash Taco
1570 N Damen
Steak Burrito Grande
$5.25 (no extras)
I used to love me some Flash Taco. I'd go so far as to say that it provided some extra incentive to go out to Wicker Park, knowing that my night would culminate in a drunken plate of Enchiladas Flash. Then one day about two years ago, I had a late morning meeting around the corner on Milwaukee Avenue. And I ate Flash Taco ... completely sober.
The Food: Well, it's not like they're cheating anyone:
That's a BlackBerry 8700c you see in the background, which is a pretty wide, clunky-looking phone. You could probably fit about twenty of them in a grande burrito. This is more food than any normal human could eat in one sitting; it's pretty gratuitous, really.
The faint praise ends there. This was a sloppily-prepared, rather tasteless concoction, especially when compared to La Pasadita's entry from yesterday. The steak (they're modest enough not to call it "carne asada") was tough and rather salty-tasting; a couple of pieces weren't even edible. The refried beans and veggies just seemed to weigh the plate down. And both the green and the red salsas were lackluster. I do rather like Flash Taco's tortillas, which are left on the grill for a little bit and sink in some of that flavor, but a tortilla does not a burrito make. I finished about 60% of the thing before giving up.
The Experience: I was just about the only customer in the restaurant at 5 PM today, and the first thing I noticed was the loud, contemporary, sort of Spanglesh techno music playing, which was like something straight out of a Mexico City gay discotheque. It's funny, because my stock memory of Flash Taco involves traditional Mexican country; perhaps they turn that music on late at night when the gringos come in, but play gringo music when they think nobody is watching.
I don't mean to poke too much fun. The service has always been both efficient and reasonably polite, which is no small feat when they're serving lines of drunken barhoppers that can snake around the corner onto Damen Ave. They have a cool mural above the counter (partially visible in the picture above) and are probably the only taqueria in the city limits to boast a flat-screen television. The people-watching is always outstanding; even when the restaurant is empty, you have a perfect view of the Six Corners intersection.
I've had some arguments with friends about whether Flash Taco used to be better, or we simply remembered it that way in the afterglow of an evening out. Either way, I really can't recommend it until your BAC reaches a certain level. The Enchiladas Flash become satisfying after two or three drinks; for the more traditional fare on the menu, we're talking at least a six-pack.
#16. Flash Taco
Posted by Nate Silver at 6:01 PM