A flair for fish tacos
We were kicking around for the day in Mexico—Rosarito, a town just north of Ensenada—when I sampled my first fish taco. My daughter decided to have her hair done in tiny braids by a woman selling beaded jewelry and hair clips. While waiting for my daughter, I kicked back on a bench alongside the sidewalk and caught a mouth-watering whiff of something spicy. A restaurant that opened out onto the street was serving up little fish tacos for about a buck apiece. I ordered one as an experiment. It was so good that I ordered another.
Since then, I’ve sampled a fish taco or two around town. One place served me a smelly mess of undercooked fish and bland salsa. Another served up dry, over-breaded fish sticks and tired cabbage in a big, tasteless tortilla.
So far, I have found two great places for fish tacos in Reno and Sparks. Whenever my friends and I go for lunch at Micasa Too, I order the tasty mahi mahi taco a la carte for $3.75. Served with fresh fruit, chips and salsa, this is a nice light lunch.
A taco that comes close to the one I tasted in Rosarito is sold at the Baja Grill, in the shopping center at the corner of McCarran Boulevard and Pyramid Drive in Sparks.
The new Baja Grill moved into the space that once used to be Salsa Dave’s. My friends, Tom and Jean Ebbe, and I used to go there for margaritas now and then. But we hadn’t been there since the place changed hands, so we gave it a try. The bar was gone, but we could still get a pitcher of margaritas—and we did. The food was reasonably priced, and the menu featured two kinds of fish tacos, each $1.99. The Baja fish taco is packed with tender, flaky strips of lightly battered crispy fish with a creamy slaw, and the grilled fish taco features some spicy red snapper.
The Baja Grill credits its fish taco formulas to cook Gabriela Rodriguez, who came to work at the restaurant in September. Rodriguez’s experience includes working at several restaurants in Mexico, Baja Grill manager Ramiro Mendoza says.
And her fish tacos? Even after just two months, word is starting to get out, Mendoza says.
“We get almost every day somebody who comes in, eats the fish tacos and says they will recommend them to their friends," Mendoza says. "Everybody says they’re good, so I guess they are."