The first time I went to this underground industrial establishment, I was deeply disappointed only because it was so popular I wasn’t able to get in! Now although they do have a wait list, I didn’t really want to wait around on Elgin for their two hour wait time. However, the second time was that of victory (maybe because we showed up right when it opened), nonetheless we got in! Soon the place was abuzz with bar-sitters, first-daters, long-time lovers and well, us. We were greeted and seated by a lovely fellow, who didn’t offer us the most help, but he was very nice and prompt with taking our order.
We started our grand meal off by ordering an appetizer to tickle the tastebuds, so we ordered the chips with the fresh guacamole. Now, since we had chosen our ‘app’ it was time to choose a drink, and what goes better with tacos than tequila! More specifically, their 3oz’er Margarita (yes please). After we got our drinks and app ordered we began to peruse the rest of the menu for a few moments until deciding what we wanted to order. Looking at all the various different tacos to choose from, I had a hard time narrowing my choices down. In the end I had to get at least three of these beauties so I ordered: one ox tongue, one fish, and one vegetarian.
Side-note: If you’re a vegetarian and don’t see any veggie tacos on the menu no worries! You can ask the waiters/waitresses for them, they for some reason just do not include them on there! Alright, now let’s explore how amazing both the drinks and food was further, shall we?
In a short, cylindrical glass came this mighty 3oz Margarita in all its glory. Rimmed with salt, this deliciously refreshing drink was a great balance of flavours that was not too over powering. Topped off with fresh lemon and lime zest, this drink was invigorating and stimulating on the tongue and with every sip, I was brought right back to the summer sun. If tequila is your thing I would highly suggest it, it was a wonderful pairing with the meal we had!
Served with a heap of fresh, crispy tortilla chips was an amazingly smooth and creamy bowl of delicious guacamole. Taking that first dip into the basin of green goodness your mouth is hit with the richness of the avocado and medley of fresh tomatoes and cilantro. The cilantro was key in marrying each element in the bowl; its crisp, herbal notes helped these flavours to meld together in harmony to create something magical. However, I cannot forget the strong hit of jalapeño you get when finishing off your bite. This shot of heat is in no way overbearing but rather helps to amalgamate the ingredients, creating a wonderfully balanced appetizer.
Served on two separate plates, the dishes were served in a ‘sharing’ ‘family-style’ way where both myself and my two friends just grabbed our tacos from each plate and chowed down. Taking time to snap a few quick shots before our jowls could not bare to stare any longer, this is what I thought about each of them!
Ox Tongue Taco
This taco really had me excited even before I arrived at the establishment for I’ve never had ox tongue before; it always makes for a more fun experience when "firsts” are involved. Now the really awesome thing about each taco is that they are all served on house made tortillas, making the experience even more authentic and compelling. At first glance, each taco looked phenomenal, getting the the first bite in made it all the more spectacular. The first bite into the ox tongue my hand was dripping with juicy taco deliciousness. The ox tongue had a great barbecue char taste and once mixed with avacado, shaved radish, fresh cilantro, and a kick of heat from the jalapeños, this one definitely set the bar high for the rest of the other tacos.
Crispy Fish Taco
Covered with the same fresh vegetables this tempura battered piece of fish was very well done. The jalapeños, cilantro, and avocado once again merged together fantastically! However, it also topped with a spicy mayo with fresh slaw underneath the fish. With a bit of crunch, the tempura batter had a delectable coating around the fish, and the fish itself had a nice savoury flavour that made you want a whole plate full. Although may of the elements on the taco were the same, the added spicy mayo and fresh slaw really made this dish stand out and validated it as its own kind of taco.
Finally, the veggie taco! Now, I always like try both sides of the food spectrum whether it be a carnivorous plate or a herbivorous one and I usually find either/or make for great decisions. When first ordering this taco our waiter let us know that instead of fish, they batter and fry a piece of eggplant in its place. For this taco they use the same toppings as the fish taco—fresh slaw, avocado, jalapeños, and cilantro with a small hit of spicy mayo. I have, once again, never had tempura battered eggplant and to my surprise it was really good that I might even have to put it above the fish taco. The eggplant was crispy on the outside with a nicely cooked inside, and with the assortment of the other vegetables it make this dish both spicy and savoury with each bite.
After coming to El Camino I would hugely recommend giving it a try! The place is super cool with an awesome atmosphere and clearly they are doing something right with all the prodigious food they’re serving up! I really enjoyed the freshness of both their style of restaurant and food itself; this kind of establishment clearly prides themselves on passion and it shines in each plate they serve.
My advice: they unfortunately do not take reservations, so try and get there at opening. The place isn’t very big, thus it gets busy very quickly and it is hard to get a seat unless you’d like to stick around for a two hour wait list!