reviews of tacos!


Seattle WA (Phinney Ridge)

6711 greenwood ave, seattle WA 98103
mon-fri 11am-2pm, sat-sun 2pm-2am

Chupacabra (Seattle WA Phinney Ridge) - taco review

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Rating: 91
Price: $$$$

To finish the 2011 Year-End/2012 Year-On Taco Tour, I visited Chupacabra with my business associate Aaron. Chupacabra had been recommended to me previously by two independent WA-based business associates, John and Michelle. Business associate Michelle and I actually made a previous attempt at Chupacabra tacos, but arrived after the kitchen had closed for the night. On our walk over, Aaron highly praised the burritos. I had driven past Chupacabra en route to the zoo on multiple occasions and often noticed the pleasant colorful red-light display. All evidence pointed towards a favorable trip, so Aaron and I strolled in there on a Friday evening eagerly anticipating a delicious meal.

After writing our names down on a sheet of paper and glancing around, it looked like the wait would be more than a couple minutes. Noticing some empty stools, we took a seat at the bar. Unfortunately for the official camera crew, the lighting in Chupacabra was both dim and red, so capturing pictorial evidence of the journey proved difficult. Undaunted, I acquired a frosty beverage and placed my order for a small veggie burrito and a chicken verde taco. While waiting, we sampled the three salsa bottles in closest proximity, each conveniently labeled: salsa roja, chipotle pineapple, and salsa verde. As you might guess from the squeeze bottles, these were all 'hot-sauce-style' salsas blended to homogenization. Despite being a completely biased and non-objective reviewer, I don't lean strongly to either side of the chunky v. smooth salsa debate. Those with strong chunk preferences (of which I've met many): be advised that Chupacabra will not give you this opportunity.

The taco & burrito came out after a brief wait. The chicken verde was a good-sized taco, taking up almost an entire normal-sized plate, and had a healthy portion of meat on it. The chicken verde was a shredded chicken marinated in the verde salsa. The verde had a strong limey tang, which imparted a good amount of flavor to the taco. The meat was tender and juicy and topped with cilantro and onions and made a solid all-around taco. None of Chupacabra's salsas were outstanding on their own, but they discovered a magic formula wherein each enhanced the flavor of the taco appreciably. More of the verde was obviously a good choice, as it brought out the spiciness of the chicken a bit more. The chipotle pineapple was a smoky-sweet salsa, in some ways reminiscent of a well-marinated al pastor, and the pineapple tang combined with the lime of the chicken verde for a powerful oral experience. King of the hill, though, was the salsa roja. It was tomato, medium-high spice level, and had a hint of a simple black-peppery flavor. With the slightly sweet, limey chicken verde, the contrast was really excellent and provided for an all-around good experience.

While I am solely a taco-reviewer, I don't believe it a violation of my journalistic integrity to mention that the burrito was also quite enjoyable. Chupacabra has earned a return trip on my next return trip to Seattle, and I look forward to seeing whether their salsas taste so wonderful on all the meats. Also, it appears that the real-life chupacabra may be heading in my current direction, which bodes well for Madison's future.

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