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Jul 17, 2006 02:47 AM

Taleo -- Is Gustavo's Change of Heart Justified?

Embarrased to admit still haven't made it to Taleo in Irvine although not for a lack of trying. Suddenly Gustavo from OC Weekly has this epiphany that Taleo no longer sucks IHHO but is now the best thing since sliced bread for OC Mex at least.
Suspicious of 180s as I am, OC hounds please attest, Gustavo on the money or what?

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  1. I posted a couple reviews of Taleo, just do a search for the restaurant name.

    1. It's good considering it's in Irvine. Fairly priced, good setting and service. The food doesnt WOW but doesnt fall flat either. I've had a couple of dishes, and remember thinking the chicken in was pretty good. I've been meaning to check out their Sunday brunch menu as well. They have a really good tequila selection and the margaritas are pretty solid. I think they are having (or just had) a tequila tasting event. Bottom line, it's worth checking out if you are in the area.

      1. I don't know if it's as outstanding as Gustavo states, but it is pretty good. The prices are indeed kind of high for Mexican food, in the $10-20 range, but it is a step up from your traditional Mexican sit-down restaurants. Not many places offer $16 tacos with filet mignon.

        It's not a regular place I visit, but when I have a business customer in town, or friends and relatives visiting, I consider Taleo as a top choice to bring them to for a meal.

        1. Solid food, menu not from a specific area- more of a tour of Mexico. Nice room, friendly service. However, in some ways reminds me of an El Torito Grill, but less corporate. Decent tequila selection. I've had the carnitas, which were tasty but a little dry (as an aside, has anyone ever tried the carnitas that you microwave in a box from Costco? surprisingly tasty). I found the price point somewhat high for what you get. I think there is something inside me that finds it troubling to pay $20 for a plate of carnitas (or @%!* $19 for kung pao chicken, but I digress.) I think if you are looking for a classy setting for mexican food that is nicer than a regular el torito or chevy's, this can be your place, but as an overall dining destination, there are better options.

          1. When I was told (from a Hound?) that Gustavo doesn't do bad reviews, I now take all his reco's with a grain of salt (no pun intended).

            2 Replies
            1. re: hbgrrl

              It's more of an overreaching editorial choice by OC Weekly than it is a conscious decision by Gustavo specifically. Here's an article where Editor in Chief Will Swaim explains why restaurant reviews are always positive at the weekly.


              By the way, for the really horrible joints, OC Weekly just chooses not to even cover it.


              1. re: elmomonster

                I've been trying a lot of his reviewed restaurants lately, and feel as if he has a tendency to embelish how good the food is. Most times, to be fair, I order what he recommends, and walk away thinking "It sure wasnt as good as he described it." Not to say the meals were bad, but they didnt rise to the level of praise he gave them. Still though, I enjoy his column and will probably continue to try out his recs.

                And that note from the OC Weekly is very respectable. I see no need to knock a restaurant on such a wide distribution channel if the food is bad enough that it will likely go under on its own doing. No need to add fuel to the fire.