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Enrique's Market

Madison WI

1417 northport dr, madison WI 53704

Enrique's Market (Madison WI) - taco review

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Rating: 82
Price: $$

After a week of living in Madison, I deemed it time to try and recreate my La Perla experience in yet another vaguely mitten-like state. After doing my research, two places stood out as 'high-potential' taco sites in the area: Taquera Guadalajara, on the southwest side of town, and Enrique's Market, on the northeast. Being an eastsider myself, I biked up to Enrique's on a sunny Sunday afternoon to begin my quest for Wisconsin's best taco.

The ride itself was promising, as I biked through an awesome park and it was only about 15 minutes away. It's on a pretty busy street, with ample roadwork (like seemingly every other street in Madison), but from the park you can just cut through the back parking lot, go past the laundromat, and there you are. When I walked in things were looking pretty mellow so I headed over to the deli counter to place my order. Tacos were $2 a piece, so I invested in 3 of them: carne asada, al pastor, and carnitas.

The industrious man behind the counter made my tacos quickly and with the greatest of gusto. While I was waiting, I browsed the market side of things. Enrique has a pretty good selection, with a few choice hot sauces (Valentina and Tapatio; sadly, no Pico Pica or Cholula) as well as Goya products, queso fresco, and more.

My tacos came out after a not-long wait on a couple corn tortillas, topped with onion and cilantro, and a dish of salsa on the side. The lack of a lime was a bit worrying, as was the abnormally yellow color of the tortillas. The tortillas weren't bad, though - nicely heated up on the grill and surprisingly pliable without any breakage. The flavor was a bit weak, but that's what happens when you get bagged tortillas. The tacos themselves, though, definitely could have used some lime.

First off I tried the carnitas. It had a very strong porky flavor and shredded fairly coarsely, giving you large hunks of meat. Unfortunately, the meat wasn't a great cut, and there was a fair amount of gristle within. The carne asada had the same problem. The beef flavor was strong, but you'd run into tough bits that would make you cautious of taking the next bite. Also the asada was dying for some citrus-y tang to offset the beefiness of the meat. The al pastor (my new go-to taco) looked slightly ground, but had a promising orange-ish hue. The pineapple flavor was very subdued and the dominant flavor here was a chili-powder/barbecue type vibe. It definitely wasn't bad, but would have been better with a stronger pineapple marinade. None of these tacos were particularly bad, but none of them stood out from the pack, either.

Unlike the tacos, Enrique's salsa is awesome. It's an extremely well-blended salsa verde that has a slight tang and a powerful kick. It doesn't obviously fall into either the avocado-based or tomatillo-based category, and it went very well with the carnitas particularly. I actually bought a 16oz container to bring home with me, and it suits many things I've eaten over the past couple days quite well: quinoa, beans, eggs, potatoes. Enrique's takes a shot at greatness, and with some work on their meat and the acquisition of some limes, they could really up their score. For now, though, I think I'm going to try out Taqueria Guadalajara.

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