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Oct 5, 2010 02:03 PM

Report: Chronic Tacos at Broadway and Yukon

Peer in the window of Chronic Tacos (Broadway and Yukon) and you'll see what looks like a genero modern bistro / sports bar - leather booths, bar tables, flat screen tvs. This gives the impression of a sit down restaurant with servers but that's not the case. Chronic is really a fast food outlet, modelled on the Subway "point to what you want" school. The food counter is somewhat hidden in the back of the restaurant and that's where you order, customize, pay and walk away with your plastic tray laden with mexi-food housed in branded wax paper. The incongruity pretty well stops there, because you quickly realize that the interior design is trumping the food. Tacos are like hamburgers - many places make them but not many make them well. The stock ingredients vary slightly but the nuances are what separates an average taco from a great taco. I ordered a round of three - carnitas, fish and chicken - and quickly realized, as the server loaded up, that this place probably serves the most generous tacos in town. This compensates for above average pricing (more than $3 per taco) and you could easily get away with two, three max. All in all, though, pretty middling food. The tortillas were not sufficiently warmed and lacked flexibility. The fillings, too, were cold, pretty flavourless and everything was bulked out with shredded lettuce and, disappointingly, grated yellow and white cheese food product. I smothered it all with hot sauce and then wrestled to finish it all. I was full but it was only a slight upgrade from Taco Time at the mall. Pretty well the only option in the neighbourhood, though.

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  1. Good report, TD.

    While I wouldn't say Chronic Tacos is stellar in the same sense as La Taqueria or Donna Cata, I would say, IMHO they fare much better than Taco Time and the likes. For a $10 meal, I'd much rather spend it at Chronic than any fast-food chain. I think perhaps one flaw of Chronic is their kitchen layout and its high visibility. Not that appearances don't matter, but perhaps customers seeing the industrial-ness of the kitchen is not their best assurance of quality ingredients and food preparation (actually that would apply to a lot of restos out there).

    So on a local scale of 1 to 10 (1 = Taco Time, 10 = La Taqueria), I would rate Chronic a 6.

    6 Replies
    1. re: LotusRapper

      Per my ramblings here what puts Chronic a notch up for me is the ability to customize your toppings. No need to ingest the evil cheese products and/or lettuce -- just say no! I also like that they will heap on more of what you DO like eg cilantro and cabbage, plus real limes are a bonus. Still waiting for the quintessential taqueria here...

      1. re: grayelf

        Think I saw a sign for another one at 4th and Burrard, coming soon, used to be a generic sushi joint I think on the southwest corner.

        1. re: bdachow

          That's the old Annapurna location-there's a lotta work to be done to bring the place up to scratch.

          1. re: Sam Salmon

            I checked in September and they said it was opening in October so maybe December :-).

            1. re: Sam Salmon

              Ah my bad...I couldn't quite remember what used to be there...thought it was the blue and white sushi place.

              1. re: bdachow

                Stuck my nose up to the window earlier in the day looks like no one showed up for work today or even lately-lots yet to be done especially in the kitchen area.

      2. If it's good enough for Dr. Dre ... it's good enough for me! You sure he's not an investor/owner?

        (Sorry, I lol everytime I think about the name Chronic Tacos)

        5 Replies
          1. re: bill_n_opus

            It's actually owned by, "wee-man" from 'Jackass'.

            1. re: Cancuk

              Those of you holding your breaths waiting for the 4th Ave location to open should exhale now.

              Yesterday the store got hit with a Stop Work order from the city-it appears both the awning and interior renovations lacked permits.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                Shades of Pinky's Steakhouse on the other side of the street! (now departed). That same oversight cost them a couple of months of construction time.

                Pinky's Steakhouse
                1265 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B6K3, CA

                1. re: eatrustic

                  Looks like the W.4th location won't be opening until sometime in the New Year.
                  Another City notice on the door telling them they have a Dec. 8 on-site with their local inspector to discuss things.

                  That's ok I still can get my taco fix at the much improved Taco Shack on Cornwall. It looks like Lululemon setting up their corporate offices across the street has re-energized that whole section of quick bite places.

                  Taco Shack
                  3143W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K2H2, CA

          2. In the spirit of fairness, I made another trip to Chronic tacos, this time ordered their chicken enchiladas, which - as the pic shows - is a generous portion but it was expensive ($13+) and bland - i could taste canned tomatoes, very little spicing, had to smother it with hot sauce to generate any flavour. Looks good enough on the plate, but from then on it's downhill...

            1 Reply
            1. re: tangentdesign

              That's too bad ... the enchilada looks decent enough in your pic.