HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >
What's your latest food quest?
TELL US

Jacques Taco Truck- [Metro Detroit]

rainsux Oct 6, 2010 04:05 AM

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101006/ENT08/10060372/1035/ent&template=fullarticle

www.jacquestacos.com

I hope to try it today.

-doug

  1. b
    boagman Sep 3, 2011 01:13 PM

    Gave them another shot today, as they literally park one block away from my parents' house in Ferndale. I walked there.

    The story's pretty much the same: tiny taco (literally 3 bites, and it was completely gone), good taste, too high a price, and a strangely long wait for it. I definitely won't be back now, considering that it's been at least 6 months since I tried them the first time, nothing's changed, and I care about my wallet. Addendum: if someone *else* is paying, I'll go, I suppose, but I'm not giving them any more of *my* money. I'm done with them at these portions/prices, but I simply *had* to give them another shot.

    A quick work about the beef this time: it looked *strange*. It was a very uncomfortable shade of brown, but in all fairness, it tasted fine/good. I don't think there's anything "wrong" with it besides the price/portion ratio, but I distinctly remember the beef looking more "beef-like" the last time I tried one. This time, the aesthetic of the taco wasn't as pleasing, but the taste was still there.

    I guess I'm too hard-to-please.

    1. JanPrimus Oct 7, 2010 06:15 AM

      I am not sure if anyone has communicated this to Chef Wes...

      So I took the liberty in doing so...if he replies I will pass on any info. Unless he comes here to do it himself. :)

      I would rather see him succeed in the long run.....

      12 Replies
      1. re: JanPrimus
        e
        eee3246 Oct 7, 2010 10:48 AM

        someone really needs to tell chef Wes that the portions are too small to be charging $2.50 per taco. my friend and I went and we both got one of each taco to try them all out, and two pops. $23....... I know he's Michelin-starred and French-trained, but it's still a taco truck and Wes has to think of repeat customers. Even that famous taco truck KOGI in L.A. charges $2 per taco and their portions are huge. KOGI also has $5 burritos-- a great idea.

        I love having Jacques Tacos in town, but I was still hungry after I left. :-/ Chef Wes, either drop it to $2 and sell greater volume and get repeat business, or amp up the portions so people don't complain in the future about size and damage your growing reputation ! Take it into consideration! Wishing you tons of success!

        1. re: eee3246
          r
          RedTop Oct 7, 2010 11:07 AM

          I'm glad this thread is turning to the positive.

          1. re: RedTop
            b
            boagman Oct 7, 2010 01:49 PM

            While some, myself included, have been pretty emphatic about the cost-to-value ratio with regard to the fare, I don't think we've necessarily been unfairly negative. I did say that I liked what I had, didn't I? The problem comes in when you realize that in order to have a decent-sized lunch, you're probably going to be dropping a $20 bill, or darned near to it.

            Why's that a problem? Because the lunch I had today at Toasted Oak, with tax and tip included, was $17 or $18. It included a full sandwich with side, a separately-charged cup of soup, and get this: a place to be seated, relax, full service, in a tempertaure-controlled environment. This guy's slinging admittedly tasty food from a truck, and he's charging through the nose for the privilege of eating his very small portions.

            I'd say the same thing about any restaurant, too! I'm a fair guy, and I liked the taco...but when it's gone after two bites, and I paid $2.50 for it, I'm annoyed. It's not like there's an option to buy 6 tacos for $10, or anything like that. It's $2.50 a shot, and we're only talking about braised beef, here! It's not exactly any expensive cut of beef we're talking about!

            There needs to be some kind of change: either a price break to keep it far more affordable than it currently is, or a larger portion size to justify the price being paid.

            If that's your definition of "negative", then I guess that's what I am.

            1. re: boagman
              r
              RedTop Oct 8, 2010 03:16 AM

              Didn't mean to offend you, boagman.

              1. re: RedTop
                b
                boagman Oct 8, 2010 02:19 PM

                No, I'm not offended, RT. I was just trying to distinguish fair criticism and negativity. That's all. I'm actually rooting for the guy...I just want him to succeed fairly.

        2. re: JanPrimus
          jjspw Oct 7, 2010 01:15 PM

          Thank you for doing so, JP. I don't much like confrontation, so I tend to lash out from behind a keyboard, but I know that's not the most noble and honorable thing to do... especially when it concerns this guy's livelihood.

          I know he's trying his damndest, and I absolutely LOVE the concept. I would love to see more restaurateurs follow in his footsteps and do other kinds of mobile food around metro Detroit. But in order for that to happen, Jacques' needs to be successful, and I think the constructive criticism provided here can help him become even more successful than he probably already will be.

          1. re: JanPrimus
            b
            boagman Oct 22, 2010 01:09 AM

            So, um, JP: did you ever end up getting any kind of response from Chef Wes? It's been two weeks now...I would think that that's a fair amount of time to respond.

            Anything at all?

            1. re: boagman
              JanPrimus Oct 22, 2010 04:43 AM

              Nope....

              1. re: JanPrimus
                jjspw Oct 22, 2010 07:07 AM

                From what I've read on Yelp, it doesn't appear that Chef Wes is addressing the portion size problem at all (i.e. the latest reviews still bemoan the high prices and small portions).

                1. re: jjspw
                  b
                  boagman Oct 22, 2010 08:05 AM

                  He'll either figure it out, or he won't. Right now he's still experiencing the "honeymoon phase" of being the new guy on the block, the guy getting written up in the Freep as The Next Best Thing. The problem is that such momentum dies quickly when the press dies down, and then he'll have some pretty hard decisions to make.

                  I wish him well, I suppose, but until something changes regarding portion size or price point, my money stays in my pocket, and I *certainly* am not going to go out of my way to find his truck wherever he happens to be on any given day, on time or late. Even more, his website is *very* deceptive, considering the portions in the pictures on there, and the *actual* portions he doles out. I call shenanigans.

                  1. re: boagman
                    l
                    Leonard Kim Oct 24, 2010 01:35 PM

                    I may be completely off base here, but I don't think the tacos I had yesterday were any smaller than Cinco Lagos' (which are $3 each) or El Barzon's ($2.50 for a flour tortilla taco), and I don't think they were obviously worse in quality. One could argue that there should be some discount for being a taco truck vs. a sit-down restaurant, but it's not like you pay any less when you carry out from those places. I guess I'm saying I'd come back -- the Royal Oak stop is *much* closer than either of the aforementioned places, and I'm paying the same prices for comparable quality. To me this is actually a much easier call than the Lockharts vs Lazybones dilemma.

                    -----
                    El Barzon
                    3710 Junction St, Detroit, MI 48210

                    1. re: Leonard Kim
                      b
                      boagman Oct 24, 2010 03:06 PM

                      Wow...while I'll have to abstain from commenting about the tacos at El Barzon since I haven't been there or had them, I'm going to disagree with you about as strongly as I can about the Cinco Lagos tacos comparison. Not that the price you stated is wrong; they are $3 each, IIRC. However, in the 2-3 times I've been to CL and had those beef tacos with the mole sauce, the carnitas, and the chicken, those tacos absolutely *dwarfed* the ones I got at Jacques.

                      I'm not even talking about the inclusion of the beans and rice here, either: I'm just talking about the tacos themselves, and their respective fillings. At CL, I'd say about 4 of the tacos would really fill me up, having just them alone. Since they serve 3 together with beans and rice *as well as* the complimentary chips and salsa (and I'm totally willing to spot that this makes a difference, too...), this is plenty to leave me satisfied.

                      It's entirely possible, Leonard, that your portions served yesterday were the result of Wes making some adjustments to the portion size in deference to the comments that have been made, though. I'm not saying it's necessarily true, but it has been more than a couple of weeks since I had that tiny, tiny, microscopically-challenged morsel Wes deems (deemed?) a "taco". Perhaps he's being smart enough to start giving a bit more for one's money, and if that's the case, well good for him!

                      For his sake, as well as ours, I hope that's true, as I really would like to go back and enjoy his fare, but need to know that I'm not going to be insulted by the portion size/price, and just tease the old taste buds. Glad you thought it was worth it for you.

                      -----
                      El Barzon
                      3710 Junction St, Detroit, MI 48210

          2. h
            hateApplebees Oct 7, 2010 05:31 AM

            We tried it at the Canton Farmers Market last Sunday. Not too impressed guys. The portions were Miniscule!!! I got the chips/salsa because I wasn't very hungry. There were literally three chips in there for $1.50. My husband got three different things and they were soooo tiny. They were good, a bit jazzed up (lime on the chips, etc) but tiny., tiny for the money.

            1. rainsux Oct 6, 2010 10:59 AM

              I arrived at 12:06 and was #13 in line. I ordered at 12:24 and received my food at
              12:29. There were 15 people in line when I got my food.

              They use the smaller shell, corn tortillas - maybe 4.5-5" in diamter; $2.50 each. The
              food seem very fresh and well prepared. I really liked the flavors in the beef rib
              taco. I was hoping that the pork would be al pastor ... but it was not particularly
              spicy or flavorful. The pork was overwhelmed by the lettuce, tomato, guac, etc. The
              chicken; well, was chicken - not much of a flavor fest. Next time I'll try their avacado
              taco. I left $7.50 lighter and still hungry.

              WRT to their operation itself; the truck seemed new, clean & well equipped. The
              woman working the window was the weak spot in the operation. She struggled
              with several routine tasks; wrapping to-go orders, keeping the order line-up straight,
              etc. Wes would have to stop what he was doing and assist her with seemingly
              routine tasks that ought not have her struggling. I'm hoping it was her first day
              on the job, first day in food service, first day ... you get the idea.

              I'll give'm another try.

              4 Replies
              1. re: rainsux
                b
                boagman Oct 6, 2010 11:35 AM

                Well, it's now 2:30PM, and I'm standing at the Royal Oak Shell station. He was half an hour late, but apparently you need to follow him on Twitter if you want to know whether he's going to be on time or not. Not my favorite first impression, especially being as hungry as I am.

                I'll try one taco and see how it is.

                Having now tried the braised beef taco, I can honestly say that, while it did taste pretty good, this thing was way, way, way, way, *way* overpriced, considering its tiny, tiny size. To be satisfied, I'd honestly have to eat, what, six or seven of them? At $15-20, out of a truck, out in the elements, with no seating or tables, it's basically ridiculous to me.

                If this is the future of taco trucks, then it looks a bit bleak to me. Bleak, expensive, and unsatisfying.

                Where. I come from, *that* isn't even an app...perhaps three or four of them would be, but one, at $2.50, is an insult.

                1. re: boagman
                  jjspw Oct 6, 2010 12:19 PM

                  Since I tried the truck on its first day last week, I could have easily experienced the worst of the growing pains--so I didn't want to say much about it before others gave their perspectives today. But, I see that I'm not alone with my general disappointment with the food.

                  I'm surprised neither rainsux nor boagman pointed out that the corn tortillas aren't even warmed or grilled. Anyone with culinary experience should know that corn tortillas are far too brittle and leathery when cold! But he served them cold last week anyway. Maybe he's changed it up this week?

                  The portions of meat were small, and very overwhelmed by the toppings. I'm not comparing this to an authentic Mexican street taco, but I also expect the meat to be the star--especially since the menu & web site sort of emphasize the quality of the meat preparations.

                  Far too expensive. But then again, he seems to be catering to the suburban crowd who would otherwise dine at Qdoba or Chipotle, to which the pricing is comparable.

                  1. re: jjspw
                    rainsux Oct 6, 2010 01:13 PM

                    > corn tortillas aren't even warmed or grilled

                    Today the tortillas were warm, dunno how. I vaguely recall
                    noticing some on the flat top, but it must've been a very
                    brief visit.

                    Taqueria Alameda is still my go-to place for mexican food.

                    1. re: jjspw
                      coney with everything Oct 7, 2010 09:07 AM

                      Maybe I'll stick to Carnival's 99 cent tacos...

                2. Davwud Oct 6, 2010 07:32 AM

                  How do you find out where the truck will be if you're not on Twitter??

                  DT

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud
                    jjspw Oct 6, 2010 07:59 AM

                    Davwud, their web site (see link in OP) has the daily schedule, toward the upper right side of the web page.

                    Please report back on how you like it, rainsux. I tried them last Wednesday--and actually was there when Sylvia Rector was interviewing him. I don't want to poison the well before you try it, so I'll just leave it that I was very underwhelmed.

                    1. re: jjspw
                      Davwud Oct 6, 2010 08:12 AM

                      Thanks. I was able to figure it all out.

                      DT

                  2. coney with everything Oct 6, 2010 07:07 AM

                    Thanks for the headsup...looks like he'll be in RO on Saturday!

                    1. Davwud Oct 6, 2010 04:10 AM

                      Sounds great.

                      DT

                      Show Hidden Posts