Editor's Note: This one is fairly self-explanatory, but here we go: Chicago Tacos explores the good, the bad, and the truly exceptional taco options in the Windy City—one taqueria at a time.
Do not visit Flaco's Tacos on $3 margarita night unless you: a) are still in college, b) love yelling as loud as you possibly can for extended periods of time, c) think of food mostly as a way to soak up alcohol. See, I didn't know all of this when I showed up at the Printer's Row location on Monday, only to find the cute little interior packed to the breaking point with college kids hopped up on discounted sugary cocktails.
Some Mexican joints thrive on this kind of chaos, even if the food gets the short shrift. But the workers at Flaco's seemed genuinely shell shocked, like they were as bothered by the excess volume as I was. My order took a few awkward minutes to get right, as it was hard to properly communicate the fact that I wanted to try all of the tacos in between the spasms of laughter and yelling from crowd.
I'll travel anywhere and endure any hardship to experience a great taco, even to a place where the sound only seems to gain strength as it reverberates off the hard, unsoftened walls. But even after trying all of Flaco's offerings, I couldn't find one worthy taco in the bunch. In fact, I only came away with two I'd even tentatively recommend, though even those had issues.
The arrachera taco ($2.45) was beefy and well seasoned, and it even looked like it had been aggressively seared on the grill. But the meat had obviously been cooked too far in advance, since it came out nearly mushy.
The chorizo taco ($2.45) was also flavorful, though I wish it had some potatoes or something else to team up with.
The rest were either lackluster or confusingly bad; the tough and dry fish ruined the otherwise tasty looking pescado taco ($2.45).
But even the best fillings would have been taken down by the lackluster tortillas. Crumbly and flaky, they all self-destructed after just a few seconds, leaving me with a mess on my plate. With so many great tortilla options around Chicago, it's confusing why this would be such an issue.
Obviously, $3 margarita night was not the optimum time to visit, but my only other experience with Flaco's went basically the same way. Anyone have a better tale to tell? Otherwise, this seems to be a merely serviceable option if you're in the neighborhood.