Mas Tacos

May 13, 2010

I was working  hard at Portland Brew this morning. Hungry for lunch, I headed back home for a sandwich when I eyed the Mas Tacos truck in front of imogene and willie on 12th South. I’d eaten from the truck once before when they first started out and were working out the kinks in the operation. They serve up tacos out of a blue and yellow retro RV. The line moves very slowly, sometimes too slowly. However, this time the wait was worth it.

I had one cast-iron chicken taco and one fried avocado taco ($3 each). The chicken  taco was filled with generous amounts of shredded chicken, tomatillo salsa, sour creams, cilantro, and lime. I was so hungry I couldn’t wait to take a photo. The taco was tangy and delightful. The fried avocado taco made me wistful for my favorite East Nashville bar, The Alley Cat, which used to serve a deep fried whole avocado that was spectacular. The Mas Taco fried avocado slivers were ok, but there was nothing particularly special about them. I might have preferred the avocado fresh. I couldn’t taste the spicy dill but the cabbage slaw was crisp and tart. The watermelon aqua fresca ($2) was light and refreshing with a dash of lime. I almost ordered a second. All in all it was a perfectly delightful to happen upon. Dining on 12th south keeps getting better. Also over the summer on Thursday evenings  the good folks at imogene and willie will be showing movies in their backyard accompanied by Mas Tacos.

For a low down on traditional taco trucks in Nasvhille read about them here.

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At 5 p.m. on Friday evening, the 15th, an entire crew was working hard at the soon-to-open Mexican joint, La Fiesta. The awning for Tabouli’s was still up, but they plan to open on January 18th at 11 a.m. There’s also a promise that the first 20 customers will get a free order of cheese dip. See for yourself:

Photo by: The Suit

Taco Mamacita

January 2, 2010

Back here in Nashville, I went to Taco Mamacita (1200 Villa Place, at Edgehill).  The folks at Taco Mamacita have taken over the old Rosario’s space and gutted it to expose the beams and rafters.

Unlike Rosario’s claustrophobic bar and faux second story, TM utilizes the open space well, particularly its bar.  Some reviewers have commented on signature cocktails.  However, I was going dry on New Year’s day, so no cocktail.

Judging from their menu, TM is trying to serve up avante-garde or at least unconventional tacos–quite expensively, at $3.5-$3.99 each.   I ordered the “Any 2 taco and a side ~ $8.99” offering.  I chose the “General Homeboy” and “Gyro” tacos.  I chose two tacos that were too contradictory to make for a good meal.  The “Homeboy” tasted like sweet-and-sour shrimp wrapped in tortilla, while the gyro tasted, well, like a bland gyro.  Both tacos had some kind of salsa that didn’t do much.  My side was the jalapeno cole slaw.  I couldn’t taste any jalapeno, and the mayonnaise was indistinguishable from the tacos’ salsa.  Overall, this rich, blurred taste overwhelmed my forgettable lunch.

For those near Music Row and Vandy, TM is a potential lunch spot, but it’s expensive for what it is.  My two tacos (one won’t get you through the afternoon), one side, and soda (at $1.99) + tax equaled an even $12.  You add a $2 tip, and that’s $14.

615-730-8552.

Taco Mamacita on Urbanspoon

New Mexican Restaurants

December 10, 2009

Drove by Edgehill Village (intersection of Edgehill and Villa) yesterday, and saw that Nashville’s latest Mexican chain restaurant is opening today.  [Update note:  it actually opened on December 11th, not the 10th.]  Taco Mamacita hails from Chattanooga and is a “young” franchise.  It’ll replace independent Rosario’s, which never really got off the ground.  It’s as if restaurateurs have realized Nashville’s lack of good Mexican food.  There’s also the new-ish Cantina Laredo in the Gulch:  a good concept, but too much like J. Alexander’s gone Tex Mex and the prices are a bit steep.  La Paz, a 30-year-old chain, has moved into the old Ombi location.  (Isn’t la Fiesta Azteca already right next door?)

Mexican food is tricky like hamburgers and cocktails:  everyone knows the ingredients, the how-to, but it takes a certain touch to get it just right. Have you ever had a martini in France or a burger in Hanoi? Well, the same goes for Mexican and tex-mex  in Nashville–with few exceptions.   Lopez Taqueria and Mariscos on Nolensville is our favorite.  (Just south of the zoo, but north of Harding.)  A gas station outfitted into a restaurant, with a constant buzz around the clock.  They offer everything from sopas to ceviche, but try the grilled/smoked chicken al carbon–best tasting, best chicken deal in town–and the tacos al pastor.  Lopez does not have a liquor license and so no cerveza.  3901 Nolensville Road.  (615) 833-6434.

Cheap-Eats Suggestions

December 5, 2009

Friends of a friend of a friend…asked for some good, cheap eats.  The primary prerequisite:  no chain restaurants.

Here’s a start with Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, East Nashville, and the best, expensive food at half price. B & T & anyone else, if you want more suggestions, let me know via comment or email.

Korea House: our kitchen away from home. Good food, good prices. We like their rice dishes (particularly squid or shrimp) and bibimbap better than their soups. The standard dishes of pickled goods brought out before the entrees are the best in Nashville. They’ve raised their prices in 2010, and entrees start at $9.  Cozy atmosphere. The staff will remember you.  On Charlotte Pike in last shopping center on right, before you hit Nashville West.  So real, it doesn’t have a virtual home on the web.  But info for Korea House is available here.  (615) 352-2790.

-For Korean soups, there’s the Tofu House, aka “So Gong Dong Restaurant.”  A wee bit out there on Antioch Pike.  But their tofu soups (with different add-in options, like seafood, beef, etc.) and entrees are amazing.  Fresh tofu, incredible presentation, meticulously cooked rice, gi-normous portions.  We like to save this for a special occasion or a gathering with a large group of people.  Pricier than Korea House. (615) 781-2022.

Indian–vegetarian.  The best and most consistent in town is Woodlands on West End (when heading west, the last building on the left before 440).  Try the different dosas.  With Xmas around the corner and no real Chinese restaurant in town, this is always one of the more happening joints on Xmas day. (615) 463-3005.

Miss Saigon.  Good Vietnamese food.  Beats out its competitors–from their pho to their rice dishes–on Charlotte and the newest Vietnamese attempt, Far East in East Nashville.  To call Miss Saigon, (615) 354-1351.

Marche in East Nashville. The best breakfast, lunch, and brunch, including Saturdays, in town. (Why are there so few Saturday brunch options?) Can’t beat the price ($8-$11, brunch entrees) for the quality of food and the seasonal menus–from sweet breakfast treats and omelets to tasty salads and open-faced sandwiches. They also serve dinner, but at night the atmosphere does not compare to its sister (more expensive) restaurant, Margot’s. There are lines for brunch and occasionally at lunch during peak hours. (615) 262-1111.

-If you’re hungry for dinner after 9, the best deal in town in is F. Scott’s. Six days a week, they offer 50% off the food menu. Entrees go from $18.5-$35 to $9.25-$17.50. The restaurant does close at 10 p.m. Monday – Friday, but will take the last reservation for 10 p.m.. They open ’til 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and are closed on Sunday. The half-price doesn’t apply to their menu in the jazz bar. Their menu changes seasonally, but consistently has some of Nashville’s best seafood, vegetarian, and meat dishes that incorporate local products and fresh ingredients. The half-price makes up for the mall location and makes their great wine list more affordable. 615-269-5861.

-For Mexican, Lopez Taqueria and Mariscos on Nolensville is our favorite.  (Just south of the zoo, but north of Harding.)  A gas station outfitted into a restaurant, with a constant buzz around the clock.  They offer everything from sopas to ceviche, but try the grilled/smoked chicken al carbon–best tasting, best chicken deal in town–and the tacos al pastor.  Lopez does not have a liquor license and so no cerveza.  3901 Nolensville Road.  (615) 833-6434.