Tacqueria Mercado in Fairfield -
I live farther north but tonight we stopped here on a trip to Jungle Jim's.
Some context: my tastes in Mexican are very pedestrian - I don't do tripe, pozole,
menudo - I just like flavors and freshness.
I really, truly don't get the hype around Tacqueria Mercado. Either they had an off night, or, we are not in tune with some delicious subtlety about the place. I can skip this place from now on.
I ordered a small burrito lunch with barbacoa, and a side of a tostada with chicken. My wife ordered the quesadilla lunch with carnitas (pork). We ordered chips and salsa (not free, costs $2 here.)
The chips were like from a bag, not fresh. The salsa was like ketchup, sweet and pureed, not fresh tasting at all. Tasted like jarred salsa. The chips+salsa we had were a ripoff considering that you pay for it.
My burrito was a mass of wilted lettuce, no taste of cilantro or other herbs, and fairly flavorless. The meat (barbacoa == stewed beef) had a ton of greasy fat - very poorly trimmed - that I had to pick out and hide in a napkin.Very unseasoned and bland.
The beans had an interesting meaty texture but were flavorless and unseasoned. Same with the rice, also very unseasoned.
The chicken tostada on the side was the best part of my meal. The chicken was quite dry.
My wife reported that her quesadillas were "ok" but also complained about the lack of seasoning.
(By "seasoning" I mean they grossly under-used salt on everything. Nothing had any flavor and I had to dump salt on things and they still did not have much flavor.)
Even the table sauces that they provided had (to me) no particular compelling flavor profile. One was reddish and tasted smokey. Two others were different types of verde sauces. All three were forgettable. I wound up using the bottled Valentina brand sauce on the table.
Table service was OK and the server was pleasant. The girl who rang us up did the Mexican restaurant standard thing of ignoring us and not speaking or having any personality.
This place sucked. It wasn't even that cheap because we had to pay for chips and salsa, and the fact that they only had lunch combinations, so putting together the dinner I really wanted was more expensive than something I'd get at Abuelo's.
Flavor wise, this food was on a par with El Rancho Grande stuff. As noted, no tastes of herbs like cilantro, or freshness, except for the lettuce and tomato on the tostada.
It's funny - I read somewhere that Tacqueria Maya at Fields-Ertel is owned by the same people. Food at Maya is considerably tastier, fresher and with much more flavor than this stuff.
<message edited by donw9876 on Fri, 12/7/12 4:31 AM>