Sunday, April 3, 2011
I ate El Pollo Loco's Fish Tacos and all you get is this lousy review!
Classic Baja Fish Taco (El Pollo Loco)
Spicy Avocado Fish Taco (El Pollo Loco)
Every year, as Lent approaches, our favorite fast-food establishments offer special seafood-centric items. McDonald's has the Double Filet O' Fish, White Castle has had clam strips, Burger King has done some adventurous things to their BK Big Fish (f.k.a. The Whaler), and Taco Bell has brought back those damn shrimp tacos. While they've changed the name from "Baja" Shrimp Tacos to "Premium" Shrimp Tacos, I'm not buying it, and I refuse to fall for the ruse this year, so I will not be featuring them here. (Perhaps my friend, Aaron "That Bootleg Guy" Cameron, would like to take another crack at them? *nudge, nudge*) Of course, I still love tacos, so I was intrigued to hear that El Pollo Loco was dipping its foot in the pond with these NEW fish tacos.
While they've been available for about two months now, it's hard not to imagine that these were strategically rolled out to coincide with Lent, as a great deal of El Pollo Loco's target demographic happens to be Hispanic families, many of which are devout Catholics who are interested in other options to tasty delicious meat during this religious observance, during which many refrain for eating it.
The fish fillet wrapped in two corn tortillas is, much like my liver on a Saturday night, beer-battered and fried. The texture of the fried Alaskan whitefish fillet isn't too crunchy, but crunchy enough where it holds up against the rest of the ingredients. It's sweet and flaky and not too shabby for fast-food-grade fried fish. It could stand to be a bit bigger, but then the quality of the fillet would probably have to go down a bit for the price.
The Classic Baja Fish Taco features creamy, sweet yogurt-based sauce that tends to get lost amid the crispy beer-battered fish fillet, the slaw of cabbage and carrots, the cilantro and the juice of the supplied lime wedge. The slaw adds a nice texture to the taco, while the last two ingredients are what end up making it worthwhile in the flavor department.
Everything that works for the Classic Baja Fish Taco is here in the Spicy Avocado Fish Taco, except that the quiet Baja sauce is replaced by a yogurt-based avocado sauce, which kicks it up in the flavor department just enough to be the perfect complement to the other ingredients. Seriously, this thing is just the cat's fucking pajamas. Don't waste your time on the Baja taco. The avocado one is where it's at. Six turntables and three microphones. I would like to give it a whole extra me-head for the sauce alone, but that would put it in the same neighborhood as Whataburger's spectacular 5-3-1 Burger, which it comes close to for the sauce alone, but it still falls short.
If the fish were broiled (like El Pollo's chicken) instead of fried, I would more than likely give it an UNPRECEDENTED perfect-five rating and still have a chubby a day after eating it. Sure, it would probably be more expensive, but I would gladly pay up to an extra dollar per taco for a flame-broiled fish taco with that godlike avocado sauce.
Rating (Classic Baja Fish Taco):
Rating (Spicy Avocado Fish Taco):
(Image appropriated for demonstrative purposes from ElPolloLoco.com.)