While the city still awaits a proper taco truck during the bewildering street food trial run, it's good to revisit what options remain available. There are obvious choices - Las Taquerias, Dona Cata, Salsa and Agave - and then there's those that generally get neglected.
Taco Shack is one of those places, assumedly due to its wildly mixed reviews since opening (I seem to recall another food blogger getting into a comment war with one Taco Shack's owners; that other food blog seems to have gone by the wayside, while Taco Shack still remains). Most of the criticism lies in Taco Shack's purported 'unauthenticity,' the type of opinion that's more fussy than acknowledged. The remainder of the criticism is more concerning: bad quality, bad service, bad concept.
To be clear, Taco Shack doesn't offer authentic Mexican tacos, nor does it purport to. It is a distinctly local beast, borne of Californian taco trucks. They are 'tacos' in the sense that they are comprised of foodstuff wrapped in a tortilla, much as anything on a flat bread with tomato sauce has entered the mainstream vernacular as 'pizza.' It is all a modest proposition: choose your protein (or vegetarian option), toppings and number of tortilla shells (one or two; go with two, considering the generous portions). The restaurant is close to the beach, and there is little in the way of atmosphere at the Taco Shack to distract you from it (even less now as David Benefield spends little to no time there). Quite simply, it is utilitarian: get your tacos quickly and move towards water.
The steak taco is well-seasoned, slightly peppery and tangy, and well-cooked considering that it's been prepared well in advance. The fish taco does not fare as well, slightly bland, and overly dry, dependent on the guacamole and salsa to revive it back to life. Ask for all of the toppings and that is exactly what you will receive: each taco comes heaped with onions, red lettuce, roast corn, cheese... an endless list for those with an abundant appetite. It's absolutely filling, and a good option for those that simply want tacos overflowing with fresh produce, irrespective of what lies underneath.
(Take note: Taco Shack also offers what may be the best selection of craft root beers in town. There are at least three options, with two - Bulldog and another with extra caffiene - being rarely available in stores, much less restaurants.)
1937 Cornwall Avenue