Nick’s Crispy Tacos perineally seems to show up on 7X7’s list of places to eat in SF, so I’ve been wanting to check it off my list for some time. I almost regretted this when I walked into the place, and I felt nauseated by the extremely sickening smell of alcohol and body order that thickly permeated the air. I quickly realized that the place was more of a late night dive bar than it was a happy hour style taco joint. The space was pretty large, but it was obvious that eating tacos was probably secondary to drinking. The tables and chairs were fold-up and provided a few additional seating options to the red plastic-covered booths along the walls of the place. There was a rather large bar, adequately stocked with a good amount of alcohol, taking up almost the entire left side of the place and a small bar tucked on the opposite corner where a queue of people were already lining up to place their food orders.
I almost wanted to turn around and leave because of the smell alone, but given the number of people packed inside this suffocatingly stinky place, I knew I had to try the tacos even if I would just take it to go. I tried a Camarones taco and a Pescado taco. The Camarones taco is a corn tortilla filled with 4 or so good-sized grilled tiger prawns topped with tomatillo and pico de gallo salsas, cilantro, cabbage and onions. For $4.25, it’s a pretty substantial taco that would fill you up, but unfortunately, it lacked a little bit of kick and flavor. The shrimps were not well-seasoned. The salsa and guacamole could have potentially disguised the lack of the flavor in the shrimps had there been some more flavors there, but there wasn’t. Overall, the taco tasted kind of plain and flat, and I kept thinking that this shrimp taco could not beat out Pancho Villa’s version.
The Pescado was by far, the better of the two tacos. It was a Baja style fried fish in a corn tortilla with salsa, lime mayonnaise, cilantro, cabbage and onions. I ordered it “Nick’s Way” which means for an extra $0.75, you can have the taco made crispy and topped with jack cheese and guacamole. I’m still not really sure what that means since a Pescado is already fried, but supposedly, it’s the best way to have them. There is definitely a reason why the Baja-style fish taco shows up every year on 7×7. They are gosh darn good! Granted, the toppings are pretty much the same ones that I was not a fan of on the Camarones taco, but in this case, the Fried fish was hot, crispy and tasty, so the toppings just added some balance to cut the oily fattiness from the fish. It was delicious!
Overall, the Crispy Pescado tacos were definitely worth enduring the nasty ambiance of the place, and I would probably go back. I just really wish it wasn’t such a ghetto place with that awful smell. However, I’m guessing that the real target customer is someone who wants some rich and fatty grub after a full night of drinking and reveling along Polk.
Nick’s Crispy Tacos
San Francisco, CA 94109
PAFO Ratings for Nick’s Crispy Tacos:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance ½ star
Food 3 ½ stars
Overall rating 2½ stars