151 avenue a (btwn. 9th & 10th st), new york NY 10009
sun-wed 11am-4am, thurs-sat 11am-5am
After spending 2 solid days fasting and carrying heavy objects up 6 flight of stairs, Ben and I deemed it time to "break our fast" with lunch at the closest taco shop. San Loco is across the street from Tompkins Square Park and right next door to a place that sells pizza at $1 per slice, so to justify any return trips San Loco would have to impress me both with the price and quality of food.
As I still carry my student ID card from Clemson University, I was able to get the student special - 2 tacos and a drink for $3 (I also ordered a side of rice and beans). Pretty expensive for a lot of places, but not a bad deal for NYC. Without the student discount tacos are even more expensive, $2.15 a piece for crunchy corn tortilla and $3.20 for soft flour tortillas. The absence of standard soft corn tortillas and carne asada from the menu clued us in that we were in for a non-traditional taco experience. However, I strive to keep an open mind and not to let my philosophical opinions about what a good taco should look like affect my eating experience (plus I was extremely hungry) so we soldiered on, sat down at the bar, and waited.
The food came out pretty quickly, and there was a television playing the US Open while we waited, so it was a pleasant experience. First impressions were that the rice and beans, served in a novelty crunchy-corn-tortilla bowl, were fine. My order of one chicken taco and one catfish taco (their specialty) was well-presented, topped with lettuce and tomato. The tacos themselves were completely satisfying, probably due to our extreme hunger, but rather unremarkable. The chicken tasted fine and went down easy, but didn't have much flavor. The lettuce and tomato topping was pretty standard (imagine eating lettuce and tomato. That's what it was like). The catfish was breaded pretty heavily and in small chunks, so it was equal parts bland breading and bland meat. The crunchy corn tortilla didn't compare favorably to soft corn tortillas.
Hoping to spice it up a little, I chose the standard "apply salsa" remedy. At San Loco, salsa needs to be requested separately and comes out as a bland little red liquid with no visible seeds or vegetables - more of a Cholula-style hot sauce than a salsa, really. Overall not a great addition, and certainly doesn't bring San Loco up to par. Also hurting San Loco is a lack of limes. Apart from the location, San Loco doesn't have much to offer, and you'd be better off heading next door for a slice of pizza.
Reviewed by tacosmog.com on