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Fresh Mex Reno

This taqueria got a vote for "best in Reno" from some food reporters for the Gazette-Journal who did a taco crawl (I have no idea if any of them have chowish tendencies, or if our own Steve Timko was among the group....). I have noticed the place several times, but always avoided it because the name reminded me of a chain somehow (and the sign in front seemed somehow chainish as well...). But after reading the RGJ article I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, especially since it is very close to my house, and right on the way home from work should hunger strike!

They have made some effort to decorate, with painted brick walls, Mexican prints, and the like. But its your basic formica-table type of place. The staff is very, very friendly....and totally bilingual. There is sit-down service, and beer is available. I had the carnitas tacos combination plate (two tacos, rice and beans). The flavor was delcious, although the meat wasn't quite as crsipy as described in the RGJ article. They were served with a red salsa that was almost pure capsicum..too hot! The rice was wonderful: fluffy and flavorful. Beans were ok. Hubby had the fish taco special; the fish was pan-fried and it was delicious. Our meal came with some home-made chips and some of the best pico de gallo I'd had in awhile...very flavorable jalapenos and tomatoes. Hubby finished with a cinamon churro...I don't like churros much but this one at least was freshly made. Dinner for two including three Tecates was about $25 so its definitely inexpensive. Definitely worth a stop; I think I enjoyed my meal there more than the one I had at nearby Beto's a week or so ago....

Fresh Mex is at the corner of Keystone and 5th st, across Keystone from Albertson's.

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  1. very cool. Looking forward to trying it over Thanksgiving....agreed that the name is unfortunate.

    Do they have breakfast?

    1. Didn't think to look to see about breakfast. I'll have to check it out. They did have menu options other than the usual tacos and burritos. I'd like to try the tortas sometime....I forgot to mention: its relatively new...only been open a few months. There was a decent crowd there tonight...hopefully it'll stay (the restaurant there previously was some kind of fast food Chinese place that was always empty...)

      3 Replies
      1. re: janetofreno

        Just an update:

        We went there tonight for a quick "on the way home" supper and thought of you, Susan. The special was albondigas soup. Yum! Rich homemade beef broth, with a LOT of vegetables: carrots, squash, cabbage, celery, even a few potato chunks. The meatballs were bite-sized (easier to eat that way!) and were delicious: light and flavored with fresh Mexican oregano. And best of all: there were LOTS of them...maybe as many as a dozen.....My soup came with a big stack of fresh corn tortillas. I walked out of there stuffed.

        BTW, they are open for breakfast (at 8am) on Saturdays and Sundays.....

        1. re: janetofreno

          I don't know how, but somehow I missed this post till now! Can you do me a big favor and ask if they can put the albondigas special on the menu for dinner the night before Thanksgiving!? Will treat if you do.... :-)

          I wonder if the fact that no lard is used (see post below) is part of the reason that Steve found the burrito to be blah (given that it was almost all rice and beans).? Still, it is good to know that it is vegetarian friendly, for those in the family who don't eat lard...

          has anyone checked out breakfast possibilities yet?

          1. re: susancinsf

            I'll have to stop by this week and see how often they make the albondigas.

            Can't comment on the burritos. I don't eat burritos. Jerry has had burritos there twice and enjoyed them.....and he would say something if he thought they were bland.

      2. Sounds good. I'll have to check it out. It sounds like it was in the place that was a Szechuan Express for a long time, then became a place that served Chinese food, sushi, Hamburgers and just about anything else you wanted.

        1. I went there today for lunch and I agree it's a very nice spot. I got three large tacos, chicken, beef and plain pork. The plain pork didn't live up to the hype but it was all fresh. I don't know if the tortillas are home made but they seemed awefully fresh. I'll be back to check it out for the other items.
          I can see why you'd overlook it though. It was a horrid szechuan express for so long and then a mediocre "we serve anything" joint. Kind of like that really bad Asian restaurant on South Virginia at Plumb that was a Sambo's also. It like these places get bad food karma and can't shake it.

          1. The soup sounds good. I wonder if they have a special breakfast menu on the weekend.
            I went there Wednesday night and got a burrito and a taco. The taco was great. The burrito was big and blah. Almost all refried beans and rice. Very little meat. So I wouldn't recommend the burritos.

            1. This place is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. No lard in the beans; no chicken broth in the rice. There's even a vegetarian section on the menu.

              I keep going back for the vegetarian burrito ($7.25); it's the best burrito I've ever had. It's huge, solidly constructed and delicious. You can tell it was made with love.

              I'm really impressed by the salsa. It's rich, dusky and complex, with sort of a quiet, well-rounded heat.

              The ingredients really do seem very fresh, like they were selected by someone who genuinely cared about feeding quality food to their customers. I would trust these people to feed me if I were sick.

              Oh, and the staff is very friendly!

              1 Reply
              1. re: GEC

                Went with a group of 4 to mixed reviews. My fish tacos were the best I've ever had, next to The Office in Cabo. I was a little disappointed that as a dinner special, there were no sides provided with them, tho. Pork tacos were enjoyed by partaker, however she thought they were small. Sopas were also enjoyed but he thought they were a bit thick, but still good, and lastly, DH who is a tough nut to please, did not like his beef burrito AT ALL. It did look a little strange - refried beans, and it appeared the whole thing had been fried. Looked chimichunga-like. Anyway, I will most definitely return for the fish tacos. I agree with GEC - staff was great. Oh, and thanks for the vegetarian info - teenage daughter has turned vegetarian, and she'll like the options.

              2. Interesting, that this is the second report of not liking the burritos there. Its not a problem for me, as I *never* eat burritos.

                Hubbie never gets past the fish tacos. Ate there recently and sister Susan really liked the al pastor tacos, btw.

                1 Reply
                1. re: janetofreno

                  yes, their al pastor is indeed very good. I also had some sopes, which I thought were good, not great, but certainly not thicker than I am used to (I think the base on sopes should be fairly thick).

                  However, I was disappointed that there was no albondigas on offer the night we were there. Will have to go back for that!

                  And I did taste Jerry's churro...yumm! one of the better churros I have tasted outside of street stands in Mexico.

                  Prices were also a big plus: I treated our table of four, including Negro Modelos all around (more than one for some of us), and the total bill was something like $65 plus tip.

                2. After the RGJ rankings came out, my wife and I visited Fresh Mex and Beto's (our "ususal") on successive nights to see if we should switch over to Fresh Mex.

                  As for the food, we liked Fresh Mex better for some things. For instance, their carne asada is superior to that at Beto's (neither of us care for the Beto's version). However, Fresh Mex's chicken tacos came with cubed chicken meat that wasn't as flavorful as the chicken at Beto's (which is pulled, not cubed). Overall, we gave the nod to Beto's food/flavor.

                  Price is pretty similar between Fresh Mex and Beto's.

                  The Beto's atmosphere is certainly better. Looking out the window at Fresh Mex after dark makes you feel like you're in a spaceship, and there's no opportunity to eat outside.

                  While we weren't disappointed with Fresh Mex, we preferred Beto's overall, and didn't agree with the RGJ's rankings.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: clarence6ybr

                    Is there a place you can eat outside at Beto's??? I never noticed......

                    1. re: janetofreno

                      They've always (in the 2.5 years I've lived here, anyway) had several (five or six?) tables outside. This spring, they built a canopy that provides much more shade than was previously available. Just grab a table outside, and they'll bring the food out to you the same as if you were inside!