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Que Bueno!

Denver CO (Airport)

denver airport, B concourse

Que Bueno

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Rating: 56
Price: $$

On a recent Madison WI to Davis CA trip, I had a layover of about 30 minutes in the Denver Airport. I was in a sticky situation, to say the least: hungry, but only about 3 hours until I'd be safely in Davis and could eat whatever I want at a better price. I'm not a huge fan of buying food in the airport, though it is a necessity at times (I remember in particular Thanksgiving dinner '09, a turkey sandwich from the Miami Airport Quizno's). As I walked from gate B85 to B31, I passed by a small taco stand outside of a frozen yogurt shop. 'Que bueno!' I thought to myself, 'I can eat a couple tacos and still be hungry for additional tacos when I arrive in Davis.'

I placed an order for 2 chicken and 1 steak soft tacos. As I approached the counter to pay, I noticed with some dismay that the man behind the register had a nametag identifying himself as the manager of the yogurt shop. While I like frozen yogurt as much as the next guy, I don't feel that there is sufficient overlap between frozen yogurt and tacos to allow one person to be in charge of both. As I watched the lady sculpt my tacos, I grew concerned. She displayed absolutely no concern for crafting a reasonable taco, and instead put whatever amount of meat she happened to grab into each tortilla (while an expert taco-creator can get away with this through years of practice, the highly variable meat contents led me to believe she is a total amateur). Next, she asked me about my salsa preference (hot or mild). She then put a heaping ladle full of hot salsa onto each taco - probably volumetrically equal to the amount of meat - and sprinkled a handful of cheese and lettuce completely randomly over the top of everything and sealed the top of my disposable plastic container. OUTRAGEOUS! The trials and tribulations of a middle class lifestyle...

After walking the last 100 yards to B31, I nervously cracked open my taco container. As expected, it was a total disaster inside, most noticeable in the pool of liquid taking up the bottom half-centimeter of the container. This was mostly salsa juices that had leaked out of the tacos, with a bit of meat juice thrown in for good measure, and it substantially weakened the tortillas holding everything together. The meat itself was probably of Taco Time quality (for those of you not from the West Coast, that means better than Taco Bell, and not as good as Qdoba). The chicken was pleasantly seasoned, but the steak was oversalted to an epic degree. The salsa itself was surprisingly spicy, but certainly not overwhelming, and lacking in flavor. The tacos ranged from overstuffed to extremely sparse, meatwise; however, there was a consistent amount of salsa, lettuce and cheese in each. Improper ratios can make or break a taco, and this demonstrates an alarming lack of concern for a good balance of ingredients.

Que Bueno's price was actually not too bad, for an airport restaurant. The three tacos were filling and cost less than my (first ever) Big Mac with fries from the Charlotte Airport. QB has the potential to be among the best airport restaurants, if only they would put a little more love into their product. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe my taco-creator was just threatened by the Mafia, or lost her house to a tornado, or found out Santa Claus doesn't exist. Unfortunately, for the time being, I'm going to have to give Que Bueno the dubious title of 'Worst Tacos in the USA.' Apparently there is a full-size Que Bueno! restaurant in the airport that is currently closed for renovations, but has got pretty good reviews on the internet - I'd bet my barn that their chefs put more effort into their job.

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