Report: Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk Street
Now that Helmand Palace has embargoed their lunch buffet, I sought out alternative Chow-worthy establishments on upper Polk Street. First up: Nick's Crispy Tacos. Highly recommended, for a few reasons:
- It shares space with a nightclub: Nick's is open until 9 PM, then the nightclub opens at 9:30. But not just any nightclub: it's very Austin-Powers inspired (see photo #1). It's somewhere between campy and garish, a perfect setting for Mexican food.
- I recommend the tacos. See photo #2 for a shot of the carne asada (steak) and the pescado (fried fish). I also tried the carnitas tacos. The pescado were the best, and the others were good as well. But be sure to order them "Nick's Way"; For 75 cents extra, you get guacamole, and they also dunk one of the tortilla layers into hot oil to "stiffen" it, which is brilliant.
- There is also a happy hour deal: "$2 Taco Tuesdays" (see photo #3 for the info: they apparently have no website.)
I went last weekend. It was okay, just okay, maybe good for late night drunken dinner.
If you get it Nick's Way they put a soft tortilla around the (barely) fried inner tortilla, which causes it to steam a bit, defeating the purpose of getting something crispy. And the guacamole was beyond tired, I scrpaed it off after the first bite. What is the big deal about making fresh guac to order? I'm paying you a premium, yeah $4/taco is a premium, at least pretend to care.
I have to admit a big part of my disappointment was due to my own inflated expectations. I was hoping for a true crispy taco, the kind you get in Mexico City where they put the picadillo etc. in a soft tortilla, fold it over, then fry it on each side on a griddle in a little fat, then pile in anything else you want. Now if somebody opened that place here I'd go twice a week.
Funny, I did the exact same thing the other day when HP was closed. I was starving and went to Nick's. The tacos hit the spot every once in a while -- I don't crave them, but don't mind having them when I'm in the area.
Little Thai across the street is pretty good.
2065 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
san francisco, ca, san francisco, ca
i'm not a taco expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I think Nick's grilled fish tacos are fantastic.
re: chow worthy places on upper polk: Star of India has a decent lunch special- I had a tasty vegetable naan-wrap for about 5 bucks. La Boulange de Polk is usually pretty crowded, but they had reliable Bay Bread fare- same goes for Le Petit Robert- although i've only had bad service there.
Pesce is wonderful. Most other places are just so so. I've had good meals at the Bell Tower, but I certainly wouldnt make it a destination. If California Street is still considered "upper," Cordon Bleu lives up to their sign "The Best Chicken You'll Have Outside of Vietnam."
Near Polk: U-Lee at Jackson and Hyde does some darn tasty potstickers, and almost everything I've had here I've ordered again. I'm a sucker for their sweet and sour fish. Also right nearby is Ristorante Milano on Pacific between Hyde and Larkin.