The life aquatic
Taco Del Mar95 N. Sierra St., Suite 103
Reno, NV 89501
It looked so lively and promising as it was all coming together. A bright and bold fish taco restaurant in downtown Reno, just behind the Riverside Theater. It seemed ideal for the times when you know you’ve got to eat before going to the movies but are short on time. It also seemed handy for those post-movie moments when you’re feeling famished but also so mentally numbed you don’t have enough brain power to decide where to eat.
Since Taco Del Mar opened on the corner of First and Sierra streets about a month ago, they haven’t appeared quite ready for a review. However, if your restaurant is open for business, you’d better be ready to provide good food and great service.
When I walked into Taco Del Mar at 7:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, the blast of warm air was a welcome change from the outdoor chill. My friend Ray ordered first and got the number-two combo, the enchilada platter ($6.49 for two enchiladas, rice, beans and a small drink). He got one enchilada with Alaskan cod and the other with chicken. Presented with the choices of black, refried or pinto beans, Ray chose black, and so did I.
I ordered the number-one combo ($6.49), which came with two tacos and the same accompaniments as the number two. When I said I wanted fish tacos, the server said they were out of fish. “Not good business,” I thought, especially when the restaurant’s name translates from Spanish into “taco of the sea.” I’m sure I looked dumbfounded because the server quickly said, “Hold on,” and went into the kitchen. She came back saying it would be several minutes.
Looking for a spot to eat, we saw three empty booths, but they were all dirty. When I asked the same girl who’d taken our order if she could wipe one down, she didn’t understand English. It took me three times to explain before she realized what I wanted. A gentleman with his son faced a similar language barrier when they stepped in and asked a 20-something employee, who was organizing, if they were still open. The employee looked confused. The patrons were about to leave just before the employee finally led them to the ordering spot.
The presentation of the food was appealing. The black beans were mildly flavored, slightly mashed and velvety in texture. They were the tastiest part. The cod tasted mediocre, however. The fried outer crust was so soggy my whole taco quickly became wet and fell apart. The creamy white sauce topping the taco off was what gave it an appetizing flavor so that I could finish it.
If you leave the movie theater feeling voracious and not wanting to make another stop before heading home, Taco Del Mar will probably quench you’re hunger. If I’m in the immediate neighborhood and hungry, there’s no doubt I’ll give it another chance. But as of right now, it’s not something I’d drive out of my way for.