Pictured: Tacos Puerto Vallarta
Photo by David Pulliam of the Associated Press.
Courtesy of The Kansas City Star
Review by Lauren Chapin
You’ll Get Hooked on the Fish Tacos
They’re part of an authentic Mexican menu at Teocali.
The Kansas City Star
Thursday, June 28, 2007
On the prowl for a great fish taco? Check out Teocali Mexican Restaurant and Cantina.
Enrique Gutierrez opened Teocali in the former Firehouse Bar and Grill space, a block or so south of Children's Mercy Hospital and the UMKC dental school. He replaced vintage fire hats with aged tequilas and swapped chili dogs and chili fries for fish tacos and pinto beans.
Although he does $5.99 and $6.99 lunch specials, I ordered the Puerto Vallarta tacos, substituting corn tortillas for the flour ones. The lightly battered and fried pollock filets were nestled on a bed of chopped lettuce and cabbage and sprinkled with pico de gallo.
The salmon pink chipotle sauce had a smoldering, smoky flavor that made these fish tacos sing. A few squeezes of fresh lime juice and hmmm. Divine.
The accompanying rice wasn't just a gummy plate-filler. It was light, fluffy and subtly flavored with tomato. And instead of the usual refried beans, the meal came with soupy, whole pinto beans, homey, filling and meaty.
A terrific house salsa outshone the guacamole, which lacked much oomph. And the tacos Mexicanos, filled with chopped pork, diced onion and cilantro, were as good as any served on the Boulevard. The pork tamale was soft and pudding-like, with a mildly seasoned pork stew spooned over the tamale. My lunch pal loved her shrimp tacos, served with all the same dandy sides as the fish tacos. Gutierrez has shelves of tequilas stocked, and had I more time, I would have happily explored the differences between his Don Julios and his Milagros. Instead I played it safe and sipped on an horchata, the cinnamon-scented, rice-based drink that is the standard thirst quencher in authentic Mexican restaurants.
That's all right. I'll be back for another round of fish tacos.
(This article appeared in the Thursday, June 28th, 2007 edition of the Kansas City Star.)
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Last night, a group that we dine with on occasion, tried a new Mexican place. Our friends Dan and Larry suggested it and we thought we would give it a try. The place is a little off the beaten track, but well worth checking out. Kansas City has a growing collection of great Mexican restaurants and this one can be added to the list. The place is small and and bright and very clean. The floors looked like you could eat off of them. They have a well stocked bar with 2 televisions.I hear that Grandma is the main cook and the food is authentic Mexican. The service was very good. Our waitress was very attentive to her group of eight. The food is good and the sauces are great. Their salsa has a nice kick, but not so hot that you can't eat it. The guacamole is wonderful and fresh, nice and smooth with some nice chucks of avocado. They serve a wonderful queso with jalapenos, smooth with the perfect bite of heat.
I had the Carne Azada, which came with rice, the creamiest beans ever, guacamole and really good pico de gallo. The steak was perfectly cooked and tasted great in the corn tortillas provided. My Dan had the chicken fajitas and he seemed to enjoy them, because there was none left to be brought home. We all enjoyed the food and the company. Teocali is definitely one to go back to. The prices are good and the portions are perfect. They are located at 2515 Holmes, phone number 816-221-4749. They are back behind the Crown Center area.
(This article appeared on the blog CookinginKC.com on January 28, 2007)
Photo courtesy of noodletown.com
Friday, August 25, 2006
Some of my very best lunches end up being ones I didn't intend on having. The lunch I was supposed to have today involved You Say Tomato at 28th & Holmes, but on Fridays no one should allow me to drive anywhere because I'm distracted and ready for a nap and bound to turn a full three blocks before I am required to. This distracted miscalculation brought us to 25th and Holmes where we saw that Teocali didn't look too busy. We'd been meaning to eat there eventually, so, figuring this to be just another happy accident, I hurried up and parked before we ended up in Gladstone or on the moon or something.
Teocali is a great little mexican place in one of my favorite areas of the city. The exterior of the restaurant is bright and welcoming, and the inside, while small, is very clean, well decorated, and open. Lunch prices are exceedingly reasonable - ranging from $4.99 to $7.99. And while I normally resent having to pay for chips and salsa, they were so fresh and the salsa was actually spicy, so it made the $1.99 price tag seem like no big deal. The Sopes (little masa patties) were topped with refried beans, shredded white meat chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream. The Sincronizada was like a ham and monterey jack quesadilla, smothered with a tomato sauce that had a sweet and savory bite to it. Both were served with rice and beans.
The next time we end up at Teocali I feel quite certain it will be because we're driving to Teocali...possibly for breakfast...maybe even tomorrow.
(This article appeared on the blog noodletown.com on August 25th, 2006)