Gourmet Taco Truck
Santa Ana, CA 92707
It is fitting that Soho Taco would be our first mobile food truck review, because they have more than their fair share of great press. Our good friend Anita, from Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman has raved about these guys for so long, it really made us want to try them. The great food/novelist at OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano, dubbed Soho Taco, one of the best restaurants of 2010. With all of this great word of mouth, from impeccable sources, I knew this was going to be a great experience.
Just in case we were still sitting on the fence as to whether we would be coming to Soho Taco, Rico contacted me about coming out to see their operation. It turns out that he reads the blog. So, I felt if he could sit through reading all of my ramblings, then the least I could do is come try his food. So we checked out Twitter, and headed to their location in Irvine.
We arrived to their location, an Irvine apartment complex at about six on a Friday night. I was surprised that there were not tons of people, because I hear sometimes the waits can get very long. We must have been a little early for the dinner rush. After ordering one of everything on the menu, I introduced both Katie and myself to Rico. He could not have been a nicer guy.
Rico showed us around his food truck, like a proud papa would show off his new baby. You can really see the pride that these guys have in their truck and the food they serve. The night we were here they offered five different tacos. With the carne asada, chicken, and chorizo tacos they let you dress the tacos up by adding their salsas, cilantro, pico de gallo, and onions. For an additional charge of fifty cents you can also add a mango salsa, or some guacamole. The veggie tacos and shrimp come already dressed. Enough talk, I was getting hungry and made it to the table just in time. Here's how it all came out.
Let's start with the taco I was least excited to try, The Veggie Taco. This meat free taco was filled with portabello mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, and grilled onions with some jack cheese and chipotle sour cream. To tell the truth, I only missed the meat here a little bit. There was a smokey, almost meat component to the veggies here. The cheese was a nice touch, and the tortilla was one of the best we have had. Not going to replace my carnivore craving anytime soon, but a solid alternative for people not into meat.
From time to time they offer some specialty tacos, and this night it just so happened they had a Shrimp Taco. This taco combined marinated shrimp, garlic butter, shredded cabbage, jack cheese, and their signature chipotle sour cream. Not to ruin it for you, but this taco was the best of the bunch. Delicious. All the ingredients went so well together, played well off of each other. The shrimp was fresh and cooked wonderfully.
Now on to the tacos that we dressed ourselves. Starting with the Grilled Chicken Taco. I added chopped red onions and half the taco with their green Jalapeno Salsa and the other half for Katie, with their Roasted Red Tomato Salsa. The jalapeno salsa was really spicy, but did not overpower the chicken. Great pop to this salsa. The chicken was tender and could stand on its own.
Next up was the Carne Asada Taco. We dressed this taco the same way as we did the chicken. The meat was marinated well here. Tacos are funny things. They seem so simple in theory, but one thing goes wrong, or one component is off, and the whole thing goes out of whack. Not the case here. These are well balanced tacos. The tortillas are definitely worth mentioning. Soft and very well made. Held the contents of the taco and still tasted great. Good scene.
The only miss of the night for us was the Chorzio Taco. This was dressed simply with red onion, a little cilantro and some cheese. The chorizo was a little on the dry side. I moistened it up with some of the very good Mango Salsa. This salsa was not overly sweet like a lot of mango salsas can be. The sweet with the saltiness of the meat really had a nice yin and yang thing going, and saved this taco.
Rico was so nice he comped our chips above. They went well with the guacamole that we had bought. The guacamole was very fresh tasting, and spiced just enough. Well worth the fifty cents we paid for this. The chips were thicker than you normally get at Mexican restaurants, which I totally like. Not greasy at all, but you get the feeling that they were made very recently.
It was no surprise to me that the Soho Taco lived up to all the hype. I would have been shocked if it had not. Almost everything we ate here this night was very good. All the tacos are either $2.55 for the basic tacos, (pork, chicken, beef, and veggies), or $3.01 for shrimp, salmon, and lobster. Special note, all of these are not available everyday, so you may have to hit them up a couple times before you get to try the whole menu, but it will not be too much of burden trying Soho Taco every chance you get. The guys behind Soho Taco are even nicer than I imagined. Rico introduced us to Chef Gabe, who seemed like a great, but busy guy in the truck. It might start getting even harder to make it out to the truck because the catering business for Soho Taco is really picking up for these guys. They are in great demand. So when a truck event announces that they are going to be there, make plans to try it. Glad we could make this our first food truck review. The other trucks have a lot to live up to.
Out of five cast iron buildings, (because the Soho district in NYC boasts the greatest collection of cast iron architecture in the world), five being best to zero being worst, Soho Taco gets 3.5 cast iron buildings.
For more information about Soho Taco, and where they will be located, click here: http://www.sohotaco.com/