Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Veg heads beware: Torchy’s Tacos cooks meat and seafood on the same grill
I experienced this tidbit of horrible knowledge first hand.
DALLAS Remember when Alison Cook reviewed Torchy’s Tacos in Houston? Wowzer. Torchy’s owner fired back offering something special to any customer bringing in a printed copy of Cook’s review. Torchy’s Tacos is not messing around with anyone. Cook should tremble at the thought of tumbleweed rolling with this owner because 1) he has major ties to Austin and 2) Austin food people’s passion is scarier than watching The Blair Witch Project alone in an empty movie theater.
After hearing Torchy’s is suing some shady place for stealing recipes, as well as dealing with some kind of cannon controversy, now is probably not a good time to be a bother. Being a firm believer in the positive-negative-positive method of expression, please know we have almost always left Torchy’s feeling fulfilled. Below shows an example of happier taco times.
Torchy’s on Preston is always slammed. Watching the busy cooks smile instead of sadly frowning while in the weeds is refreshing. It’s not often restaurants achieve this kind of calm during the always scary counter-service storm. Cooks everywhere can be happy when a smooth system is pleasantly in place. The guy we usually see managing the counter is on fire, always running the shift show with a wink and a smile. Sadly, he wasn’t there to witness our service bomb explode during dinner the other night.
Our queso arrived cold. Not just a little cold or kind of cold — more like walk-in cooler cold queso. After returning the chilly, unpleasant queso to the counter person, we waited and waited and waited and waited for new queso to arrive. During this time, my tacos were delivered with crispy meat particles scattered all over the place. When I asked the manager what’s up with thick carcass particles becoming one with my grilled shrimp taco, she said meat and seafood are always cooked in the same place. To say this sucks is a fair statement. Getting this information out of her was like watching paint dry. She said there’s no way around it, when actually there is. Why can’t a molecular part of the grill be limited to satisfying paying seafood lovers? There are lots of people not wanting cow or chicken hanging out with their shrimp. Why is it people not wanting to eat meat are always the underdogs, almost always getting screwed, while meat lovers are up in the club raising the roof without even breaking a sweat?
Knowing Torchy’s slings meat in the same area as seafood is a deal breaker. The same meat violation occurred during lunch the day before at Matt’s. My omelette bite tasted like cow kicking its way down my throat. The waiter at Matt’s said everything is cooked in the same place also. Meat, seafood, EGGS. Jesus. I took a meat beating last weekend for sure.
The manager at Torchy’s on Sunday was completely useless. The only reason we finally received new queso was by walking back to the counter and asking again. The guy working the counter made a face while asking the manager about the status of our long lost queso. The face his face made was unpleasantly confused. Face translation: Why are you the manager?
Surprisingly, she smiled while finally grabbing none other than — queso. I returned to our table with the mental anguish causing queso to patiently wait for the arrival of a new, non-carcass taco. This is when the manager and counter worker began closely investigating the new tacos before delivery, while at the same time laughing and looking in our direction. This scene produced a flashback of the sad stand-up comedy club kitchen show at BurgerFi last month. The cooks stood around laughing-slash-staring at my veggie burger after hearing the hilarious request for non-microscopic cheese to actually exist and be melted.
More depressing than the rest was the greasy flood consuming all parts of the egg & cheese taco. Sorry, but this taco was next-level greasy. After removing the egg and drying the greasy-wet-whatever-it-was with a few napkins, I placed the egg on chips, which translates into an attempted egg taco recovery. The good experiences at Torchy’s outweigh the bad. The other manager would have saved the day, unlike the complete manager fail that did nothing but guarantee maximum dinner depression.
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