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Dec 20, 2007 11:36 AM

Taco Grill in the Fruitvale Public Market (Oakland)

F Y I: Taco Grill (Taqueria / Pozoleria) is now open at the Fruitvale Public Market. They just opened this past Saturday and their food is amazing. Besides the taste, one thing that really sets them apart is they are using Niman Ranch meats and they are making hand-made organic corn tortillas for the tacos by the order!!! The tortillas alone are worth the trip. I had the pork pozole ($7) and it tastes like my old girlfriend's mom's recipe. The fish tacos ($3.25) are seasoned, lightly breaded, and taste way better than any other breaded fish taco I have had.

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  1. Wow! Sounds delicious! They weren't open yet when I was by there, but I'm going to have to check it out soon (maybe even tonight!).

      1. Thanks for the tip. I checked out TG. The tortillas in any form are killer. I think they even used them for their chips and they were very tasty (enough to notice).

        The fish tacos were okay/good. The battered fish was okay but I could tell it was sitting around a little bit. To be fair, I was there at the wrong time, 7:30-ish p.m. on a holiday weekday and it was absolutely dead. Freshly fried, during peak hours/high turn over (like lunch), I think the fish tacos could be excellent and on par with SoCal.

        I'm definitely going back during lunch time to see about the fish tacos because I very much want good baja fish tacos in NorCal and I could see a lot of the elements here...just not freshly fried.

        1. I tried some tacos today and they were indeed tasty.
          They have a large selection of breakfast burritos, but I'm not sure I can make it over there during the morning hours.

          1. What different meats do they have?

            4 Replies
            1. re: DezzerSF

              Here comes the menu. The takeout menu doesn't have price of flour quesadillas, so I filled that from memory.

              Breakfast Burrito (7 - 10:30am) $2.50
              Hand-made flour tortilla filled with choice of guisado
              Machaca : Shredded beef mixed with egg and red sauce
              Nopales con huevo : Cactus mixed with egg, cilantro, tomatoes and onion
              Chorizo con huevo : Chorizo sausage mixed with egg
              Tocino con huevo : Bacon mixed with egg
              Papas con huevo : Potatoes mixed with egg, tomatoes, and onion
              Pollo en salsa roja : Shredded chicken in red sauce
              Purco en chile verde : (No Description)

              Tacos $2.00
              Hand-made corn tortillas, choice of meat, whole beans, diced cabbage and tomatillo sauce.
              Carne Asada : Charbroiled Steak
              Pollo Asado : Charbroiled Chicekn
              Adobada : Pork marinated in red chili vinaigrette
              Carnitas : (No Description)

              Fish Taco $3.25
              Hand-made corn tortilla, battered deep fried fish, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and chipotle sauce

              3 Crispy Tacos (folded in half) $4.75
              Shredded beef, chicken, potatoes served with shredded cabbage, tomato sauce, cotija cheese and sour cream

              Quesadilla $2.50 corn / $3.50 (?) flour
              Hand made corn or flour tortilla, choice of meat, whole beans, and tomatillo sauce

              Tostada Salad $5.99 vegetarian / $7.50 meat
              Tortilla, whole beans, romaine lettuce, cabbage, radish, carrots, cotija cheese, and salsa.

              Pozole is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew made from hominy, with pork (or other meat), chile, and other seasonings and garnish, such as cabbage, oregano, radish, lime juice, etc. There are a number of variations on pozole, including blanco and verde.

              Pozole de puerco o pollo servido con repollo, rabanos, cebolla y limon
              Pork or chicken hominy soup, serve with shreded cabbage, onion, radish and lemon

              Pozole de Macaiza
              Pork Pozole servido con plerna de puerco

              Pozole Surtido
              Pozole de puerco servido con cachete, oreja, paladar, lengua

              Pozole de Polle
              Chicken Pozole

              They also have Atole, not sure how much it costs

              1. re: mattg

                Thanks for posting the menu, matt -- I was in there the other night, but I was too lazy to post the menu I took.

                I really wanted to like this place more than I did. First, given the size of the kitchen, I thought this was going to me more of a "real" restaurant than it is -- it seems a waste to have a huge new kitchen (bigger than the dining area) for what's basically a small tacqueria with a very limited menu and limited table service (they're set up to take orders at the register, but since they were literally empty when I came in, I got "full service").

                I went for the pozole, which seemed like the right treatment for my mild cold on a cold, damp evening. I also ordered a taco, just to check it out. The taco turned out to be a better choice: even though I'm not a fan of beans on my tacos, both the made-to-order tortilla and the juicy pork adobada showed off the care going into the ingredients. The only fault I could find with the taco was that the single tortilla was a bit too small to hold the filling when I tried to pick it up. If they went to the doubled tortilla style, this taco would be pretty close to perfect.

                I ordered the Pozole de Macaiza, and I was less satisfied with it. The meat again showed the quality, but I thought the broth lacked depth of flavor, even when doctored with the provided cabbage, chopped onions and lime; even a dollop of salsa from the salsa bar didn't completely fix the problem. I don't know if their master stock hasn't matured yet, or if they're trying to hard to be "healthy" and cut too much fat, or what, but it just didn't have the meaty savoriness of great pozole (i.e. the weekend special at Otaez). The serve-yourself chips and several of the half-dozen salsas in the salsa bar were excellent.

                I wish this place luck, but I'm not sure they have the right business model: the limited offerings aren't going to make it a "destination" stop for chowish types looking for great Mexican food in Fruitvale, and the locals probably aren't going to be interested in paying the premium for Niman Ranch meats.

                1. re: mattg

                  Thanks for the menu. That Pozole surtido (combination, assortment) with pig cheeks, ears, snout (?) and tongue sounds interesting. I haven't seen that before.

                  The one reference to it I found on the web says it is a uniquely Northen Mexican dish with unique ingrediants.

                  Do they have any tables other than those outdoors?

                  1. re: rworange

                    They have half a dozen or so indoor tables.