Humble beginnings are a staple in the food industry, and Tacolicious is a fine example of this all-American dream. Getting its start in 2009 as a simple taco stand in San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, the business, seven years later, now has three locations up north and two restaurants in the South Bay.
When entering the swank new spot at Santana Row, it’s clear this isn’t your typical taqueria, but more of a boutique for “fancy” tacos and other atypical Mexican cuisine. That’s not to say the food is inauthentic. A desire exists to be more like a trendy Mexico City eatery with creative fare.
Tacolicious also has an impressive cocktail selection that boasts more than 120 different tequilas, but seeing as how we were at lunch I decided to stick with a Santa Clara Valley Brewing’s Electric Tower IPA ($7) on tap. Hoppy, mild and refreshing, it made for an excellent accompaniment to tacos. Speaking of tacos, we ordered the Ten Taco Platter ($39.95), which got us one of every kind, including the Taco of the Week ($1/up-charge).
Fortunately I brought a friend who can keep up with my mass consumption, as the tacos are humongous. I’d wager two or three would put an average appetite to sleep.
One of the first things I noticed is the tortilla itself: thick and chewy with great corn flavor. While not made in-house, they’re delivered daily from the acclaimed Mexicatessen La Palma in San Francisco’s Mission District. As for the taco fillings, most were good to very good, but there were a few standouts. The Chicken Mole, in particular, was outstanding; rich, chocolatey and complex—as tasty as any legit Oaxacan restaurant. The housemade Chorizo was spicy and rich, the Guajillo-braised Brisket had a deep chili flavor and the Baja-style Pacific Cod practically melts in one’s mouth. Special mention should be made of the three brightly colored salsas (habañero, chipotle and avocado-tomatillo) that accompany the tacos. Each one had a distinct flavor and paired well.
The words fancy and Mexican food don’t always go together, but Tacolicious bonds them like kindred spirits. With a great atmosphere, terrific service and delicious food, Santana Row should have a new cornerstone for years to come.
300 Santana Row, Ste. 110, San Jose.