Nick’s Crispy Tacos, San Francisco

A month ago I was in San Francisco without Gritz, which allowed me to sample some nachos with his forbidden meat – beef.

While San Francisco’s Mission district is full of amazing taquerias and home to the nations best burritos, I opted to take the hunt to Russian Hill. Why? Because I was lured by a name, Nick’s Crispy Tacos. Few Mexican ‘straunts bear my name, and I was staying in the neighborhood, making it a two for one kind of strike. Nachos and a namesake. Would the decision fail me?

At $6.75, a plate of Carne Asada nachos at Nick’s was ample for two. The build was average with chips piled up and covered in a homemade cheese sauce. Given my love of cheese sauces outside the yellow goop norm, this was an exciting discovery when the nachos emerged from the kitchen. Sadly, seasoning did not match anticipation. To call the sauce bland wouldn’t be a knock, just a truth.

Double thick freshly fried chips provided an ideal base for the hearty toppings. The carne asada gave much needed flavor to the cheese sauce. A very smooth guacamole and chunky pico granted a range of texture with each snatched chip. These were clearly quickly thrown together nachos, yet maintained an individuality through a well conceived interplay of components. Tender meat, smooth sauces, crisp tomato, crunchy chips. Textures at Nick’s became more important than taste.

And then, there were the surroundings. Nick’s is really just a corner stand within a velvet covered bar. A rather odd daytime feel for such street foods. Unlike the sublime nachos at Bar 89, which fit the environment to a T, nachos at Nick’s are a counterpoint. Quick and dirty food vs. glitz and glamor drinking.

The singular achievement of the dish at Nick’s came in the form of the carne asada. It took the plate from average to slightly above. Managing to cover, but not overwhelm, the chips, not a cube of meat was left on the plate after careful consumption of each chip. For this, Nick’s gets a 6.5 on 10.