Tostadas - North Park

I stopped into this relatively new sister to City Tacos in North Park today (it opened in late August) and tried two of their tostadas and a drink.

The place itself is pretty bare bones, with one long communal table and stools facing the windows. There’s just one two-top. They do have a second room that’s empty and unfurnished right now, so maybe if they do well they’ll put some more tables in there. And it’s air-conditioned!

I ordered the aguachile and callo de hacha tostadas. Frankly, I wasn’t really that impressed with either. The seafood was very fresh and the presentations nice enough, but both were fairly bland and had too much liquid. Eating them by hand was messy.

I was hoping that the tortillas would be toasted here, but they’re just the common kind, deep fried. Actually, the last time I had a toasted tortilla was, of all places, at MXN on Morena (now once again called Santana’s). But just once. Must have been that the cook that day wanted to do things differently. Or maybe they’d run out of the fried, packaged kind.

The better of the two tostadas at Tostadas was the callo de hacha. It needed salt and some of the red (yes, red) hot sauce from the squeeze bottle on the table to pick up the flavor, but it was piled high with scallops and shrimp. The aguqchile tostada lacked flavor but didn’t want red sauce. I was eating it plain until the server/attendant told me that the light-colored sauce on the table is mango habanero, and that in fact went well. Just a tiny amount, not because it’s that hot, but because it would otherwise have changed the flavor and character too much.

No liquor license here (yet) and when they do get one, it’ll be for beer and wine only. Nevertheless they offer an aqua fresca called “mojito”, which I tried. Well, no surprise that it didn’t taste like a real mojito, but it was pretty bland. It needed much more of, well, everything. Not even close to a good imitation, but tastier than plain water and refreshing on a hot day.

As I was leaving, the server offered me a refill of the mojito, which I enjoyed on my way back to my car. I should mention, by the way, that parking nearby is very easy. The location is well away from 30th, east on University

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Wow, aguachile just by nature is pretty spicy; rarely bland.

But thanks for trying it, I drive by it every Thursday evening and have wanted to get it a go. Perhaps I will soon

Yes, it definitely should have been pretty spicy, and I would have even settled for just a little spicy. But it wasn’t. And it was very lightly marinated, not much tang to it. Actually, not much flavor at all. But the shrimp were good.

A friend tells me she had the cochinitas pibil and cactus tostadas and enjoyed them. I plan to return sometime and try other things. Maybe today was an off day or I went at the wrong time of day. IDK. I was the only person in the restaurant at 2 pm.

Well, shoot. I saw this place and was hoping it would be a gem.

Yeah, me too. I really like City Tacos (although I prefer nearby Tacos Perla), so I was a bit disappointed. I’ll give it at least one more shot sometime. It wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting. Others may leave with different impressions.

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It might be better to try is during a peak service period rather than the down time between meal periods. Sometimes the slow times aren’t as good as when business and service is brisk and clicking along

Returned today, this time joined by my companion, and between us we had four tostadas. Two were pretty good; the others, bland and uninteresting.

Both the tostada de pibil and the tostada de nopal were flat, one-dimensional, and boring. Adding some of the red (squeeze-bottle) hot sauce helped, but I (we) wouldn’t order either again.

Then we ordered two more. Finally, menu items that’ll be worth another visit.

My companion got the tostada mixta, which she very much enjoyed. The standout characteristics were the light raspberry flavor and a very thin pineapple slice. I had the ceviche de pescado, a very fresh ceviche of red snapper. Tangy, fresh, cold, and flavorful. Not outstanding, perhaps, but quite enjoyable. Neither of these wanted or needed anything additional; most definitely not one of the hot sauces. Both were very messy but manageable.

Third time here today, and enjoyed two more menu items.

My DH companion was with me again, and she ordered the tostada mixta and her “favorite”, the ceviche pescado, both quite good and less watery this time than last, so easier to eat.

In the interest of trying new things, I got the sandia, which is a finely chopped mix of ahi tuna, watermelon (of course), and several other goodies, piled up high. I also tried the salmon tostada, in which the fresh fish is cut in thin but long slices that you have to bite through; it’s not chopped. This one tasted better with a touch of the mango habanero sauce, which is very mildly spicy and adds a nice additional fruit flavor.

Both of those that I had were quite good, and not really messy at all. And one thing that stands out here is that they don’t skimp on the seafood. It’s a good value in that respect.

I’m getting to like this place better, but will still pass in the future on the tostadas pibil, nopal, aguachile and callo de hacha, as well as the agua fresca “mojito”. Go for the mixta, pescado, salmon, or sandia instead.

Turns out, by the way, that the adjacent room isn’t additional space for this restaurant, but some kind of art gallery. There was a glass door between rooms today, and a sign outside the other area saying it’s going to be a “beer garden”. Hmmm. Not a surprising mix in this art-heavy area, I guess, but it doesn’t look big enough for that (although there’s room outside in the back).