9/20/07

Taqueria Traspasada: Round 1 Review

#15. Taqueria Traspasada No. 2
811 N. Ashland
Chorizo Tacos
3 @ $1.68 each = $5.04 (no extras)

Defeated #15a Taco & Burrito Express in Eat-in Match [verdict]

Our sense of taste is subjective enough that it has an awful lot to do with expectations. If you go to some $30 a plate restaurant, and the food is anything less than spectacularly good, you are probably going to walk away disappointed. If on the other hand you go to some hole-in-the-wall, and the food is merely pretty decent, you're going to be pleased, bragging to your friends about the diamond-in-the-rough that you found. The fact is that the food from the expensive restaurant is still probably better in an absolute sense -- if you were sitting in a conference room and each dish was delivered to you in a paper bag, you would probably prefer the fancy stuff. But it sure as hell doesn't taste like it at the time.

I went into last week's eat-in match knowing nothing about Taqueria Traspasada; I hadn't even been spelling its name right. And it surprised me by turning out a milanesa torta that was one of the best individual items that we've tried in the bracket so far. So this week, naturally, expectations were raised, particularly since one of the reviews over at Yelp hinted that the chorizo tacos were one of the best things on the menu.

The Food: Traspada's chorizo was more typical than the bacon-like meat that we tried at El Taco Veloz. The meat was not ground up as finely -- in places it was a bit lumpy -- and retained more of its natural reddish color. The flavoring was sound, although not particularly spicy, with the dominant flavor probably being garlic. So ... you've probably inferred by now that I was a little bit disappointed. And indeed, these were pretty good tacos, but I was a little bit disappointed. Traspasada does a lot of things well -- their salsa is great, their tortillas are good, their veggies and garnishes (onion and cilantro in this case) are always incredibly fresh. Lots of food for what you're paying. But the quality and texture of the meat were a little bit of a letdown after eating at Veloz on Tuesday, and that's the major point of differentiation here.

The Experience: As before, highly efficient and reasonably friendly, but the seating area hadn't gotten any more comfortable since the last visit. I also noticed that the Mexican dude sitting next to me was brought out a basket of chips while he was waiting for his food whereas I was not, but I'm about 80 percent sure that he must have ordered them; the counter guys aren't particuarly anti-gringo, actually reciting back in English orders that were placed in Spanish.

4 comments:

Flynn said...

I'll have to try Veloz, but the chorizo tacos I had at Traspasada #1 were the best chorizo tacos I've ever had, and I usually try them at most of the burrito joints around town (The Famous Taco Burrito [nee King], El Famous, La Pasadita).

However, I like my chorizo more mild, and I don't remember the consistency issues you talked about. Could be different at #2, though. I'm not in Wicker Park as much these days.

Nate said...

Chorizo is tough since the both the preparation and recipes can differ significantly from taqueria to taqueria. It's almost like you're eating two different dishes. Traspasada's didn't quite do the trick for me this time, but I'll give it another try.

Miguel said...

Trapasada has the best chicken tacos i've had in Chicago. It's not shredded like most places and there's no gross rubbery bits. Just perfect tasty little bites of chicken.

claytonhauck said...

if you haven't yet, check out the pastor tacos at traspasada. they are to this point my favorite pastor tacos in town.