Naively hoping for a taco turnaround

I’ve tried Taqueria San Francisco (in the old Absolute Subs spot downtown on Phillips Avenue) twice now, once on a Friday night, and once for a work-day lunch, and both times I’ve been unimpressed.

I’ve tried the chicken, steak, tongue, seasoned pork and beef (all in corn tortilla tacos with basic cilantro, onion and lime) and every one of them was bland. The chicken actually came the closest to being seasoned well. The salsa was smokey and okay, the chips stale.

It’s too bad, really. I always try and have high hopes going into any new restaurant, especially when it’s a Mexican place because that’s my favorite food. And while I still consider the East Bank options within walking distance, it would have been nice to have a closer taco.

And I know they just opened, and don’t want to entirely bag on a place, but no matter the toppings available, if the slow-cooked meats at the base of your dish are without flavor, that’s not really a just-opened problem.

The one thing I did really like were the sauces they had available. The green chile sauce was spicy and a bit tart and cool at the same time. And the guac sauce (not the guacamole in a 1.5-oz cup for $1.50, but the free bottle) was really quite good. Clear avocado, lime, salt and just a tiny bit of heat. It really was flavorful and made the tacos brighten up for sure.

Friends also tried the torta, quesadilla and burrito. All reports about the same: fine, but not that flavorful.

All that being said, I’d really love to be proven wrong here. Maybe they were rushing to get open and didn’t spend the normal amount of time on the food. Maybe once they get rolling a bit, the tacos will jump off the plate and the combination of great food and proximity will put them in heavy rotation.

I can only hope. But for now, I’ll be passing.