Well kids, mission accomplished! Many doubted… many have been proven wrong. I officially ate 365 tacos in 2015. While I wanted to celebrate my final tacos at Catrina’s in Oakdale, they were unfortunately closed for New Years Eve. So we moved our taco party to Senor Wong’s – a Latin Asian fusion craft bar in downtown St. Paul. Initially I was intrigued by the menu, with offerings such as pork belly ramen, k-pop burger, and tortas de carnitas. But of course the reason why I was here was for the tacos.
I am glad however that I did not get ONLY tacos (for which I will explain why later). My friends and I ordered kalbi short ribs with kimchi, firecracker shrimp, and egg rolls for the table as appetizers. All of which were good but not spectacular. Better than a grubby Chinese take out but not nearly as good as some of the Asian joints I’ve frequented. But again, I am not here for the appetizers. I’m here for the tacos!
I was extremely hungry by the time we got here. As stated earlier, I was expecting to eat at Catrina’s and judging by the pictures from their website, their tacos looked quite hefty. Senor Wong’s however had very small tacos. Not small to the Mexican world, but small for more Americanized joints with tacos I’ve been too. I guess I just expected more. The taco platter I ordered are as follows: carnitas taco with guacamole, pickled red onions, and oaxaca cheese; spicy mock duck with habanero pico de gallo and guacamole; and tilapia with purple cabbage, aji-amarillo aioli, and habanero pico de gallo. Being a platter I assumed there would be a side dish as well…
… I guess pickled jalapenos count as a side dish. [looking back at these photos the plating is really terrible too, not that plating is usually a thing I care about but SW has the atmosphere of having ‘put-together’ plates and dishes. Missed the mark on that one.]
Not only was I disappointed with portion sizing (really paying $10.50 for 3 small tacos is over priced, especially with no side) but the tacos in general were very lack luster. Any fish besides tilapia would have been better but I was pleased with the fish taco dressings. There was just no flavor to the tilapia, I mean it’s tilapia, is there ever any flavor? The mock duck overall had bad flavor. And the large dollop of guacamole on there only covered up whatever more delicate flavors should have been present. Being a fusion bar, I think this taco in particular would have adjusted very well to more Vietnamese style flavors. Then there is the carnita taco. A traditional Mexican meat that completely missed the mark flavorwise. AND I only got two small hunks of pork… what gives?! The meat should be the star of the taco. Any time I see a taco with too many fillings or skimpy on the meat, it reminds me of the time I went to a Mexican market and asked the guy behind the meat counter what he likes to serve his al pastor with. His reply, “maybe a little onion but other than that, the meat should shine.” Shine these meaty fillings did not.
I was really hungry so I ate them all without much complaint but in reality, these were all very forgettable. I was so hungry going into this meal in fact that I finished my boyfriend’s szechuan stir fry order – an overly sauced stir fry to say the least. [He would also like to note that his cocktail was garbage.]
I grant Senor Wong’s a 2 out of 5 in regards to their tacos. I am still intrigued by the K-pop burger so would return to the craft bar for this but would not recommend their tacos.
In regards to my feelings on completing my year-long taco challenge, I feel a bit underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I am surprised even by myself that I have eaten as many tacos as I have. However, I think the stress of the holidays and the lack luster finale was not a great way to round out the year. There are also many places on my list that I have not tried yet but expect great things from. But stay tuned as I have a special announcement!
Taco Rating: 2 out of 5