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Rusty Taco

When is this place opening? I see the sign is up right next to Trader Joe's in St. Paul.

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  1. We drove by there tonight. According to a Facebook page they are supposedly opening tomorrow (April 1). Interested to hear how it is.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Seige

      Opening looks like it got pushed to Tuesday April 5th according to their FB.

    2. There was something on Heavy Table a few weeks ago. Rusty Taco is based in Dallas. I think the St. Paul restaurant will be their first venture outside the Dallas area. So when I read that, I started the following thread on the Dallas/Fort Worth board:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/772263

      3 Replies
      1. re: Brad Ballinger

        They are based in Austin, the Dallas location is about a year old. I highly, highly, suggest the queso.

        1. re: head

          Um, no location in Austin. Maybe confusing with another outfi? Torchy's maybe?

          1. re: head

            I've had every taco on the menu except the vegetarian one and the queso is THE BEST thing on the menu hands down. If they had a version with chorizo it would really be cheesy sex on a chip.

        2. So today I decided to give Rusty Taco a go. Decided on the roasted pork, ground beef, and their rusty taco w/ shredded pork and pineapple. The #2 roasted pork w/ the pickled onions was awesome, the beef taco was well seasoned and I'll probably steer clear of their signature taco as the pineapple did nothing for me besides soak the corn tortillas. I am going back tomorrow to give their breakfast tacos a try. The service was very good as well.

          3 Replies
          1. re: NugarifiK

            "I'll probably steer clear of their signature taco as the pineapple did nothing for me besides soak the corn tortillas." Sounds like they need a storage bin with drainage, a better draining spoon, extra attention to draining the pineapple, or all of the above.

            What was the parking situation? Parking was frequently a challenge when it was just Trader Joe's there.

            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              They weren't that busy (11am) and the parking was still sparse. Rusty Taco should try to work something out with Trader Joes that allows RT patrons to park in the Trader Joes underground lot.

              I went in this morning, parking was better and I tried 2 breakfast tacos (chorizo and the jalapeno sausage), Really liked the chorizo one as it had more meat and I liked the texture. The jalapeno sausage had a similar consistency to andouille. The egg was done well and if I were to come back I would just get a single taco as 2 was a little much.

              1. re: NugarifiK

                The Lovely Wife was running some errands in the neighborhood and she stopped by Rusty Taco last night for some take out. We had the Rusty Taco, the BBQ brisket taco, and the fish taco (all recommended by the employee she spoke to). The pineapple in the Rusty did make the tortilla soggy, but not to a terrible degree IMO. It was very tasty in combination with the achiote pork. I really liked the BBQ, it had a great smoky flavor. Fish tacos were good, with a crunchy coating.

                She brought home the menu for me to look over--a good selection of beer (and wine, I guess--no wines were listed on there, but she told they do have them). A small selection of tap beers for $3.00 (Dos Equis, Hamms, Coors Light, Fulton). A bigger selection of bottles and big cans for $3.50 and $4.00. Tacos are $2.50, sides are $2.00.

                She told me the parking situation wasn't bad at all, but it was a Thursday night--she surmised that it will be a real mess on the weekend.

                I liked Rusty Taco a lot and will definitely go there again.

          2. I needed to go to Trader Joe's last night so I grabbed the husband and made a taco night of it.

            We pretty much wanted to try everything, so we ended up ordering 7 tacos. I'll review them one by one.

            #1 Picadillo: This was probably our collective least favorite taco. It was basically ground beef and potato and had no discernible spice to it. The filling was really wet and soaked the tortilla. This is where the typical Mexican double tortilla wrapping of tacos would have come in handy.

            #2 Roasted Pork: I wasn't overly nuts about this one, either. The primary taste was salt.

            #5 Brisket: I really liked the brisket. It had a nice beefy, slightly smoky taste to it.

            #7 and #8: Fish and Baja Shrimp: These were my favorites of the night. Both had a lovely, crispy batter coating and were served with the typical topping of crema, cabbage and cilantro. The only thing that would have improved them would be the amazing tamarind sauce that's served with shrimp tacos in Playa del Carmen.

            #9 Rusty Taco: I didn't care for this one at all but my husband loved it. I think they're trying to go for a taco al pastor flavor here but I thought the pork had an artificial spice taste to it and there was way too much pineapple in there for my taste. I guess there's no substitute for tacos al pastor.

            #11 BBQ Brisket: I liked this one quite a lot. It wasn't overly sweet and gloppy, as I feared it might be.

            They have 3 kinds of salsa available for topping tacos: typical red, verde and an orange habanero. The red was rather boring, the verde was nice and I liked the orange a whole lot. It was hot, but not punishingly so, and flavorful.

            Service was the typical "we just opened a few days ago and are kind of in a panic" mode. Quite a bit of confusion over the cash register. But the food arrived quickly. The guy bussing tables was a little over-eager. He tried to take away our taco tray before we'd finished.

            The beer list looks good but we weren't in a drinking mood and chose Mexican Coke instead. I wish they stocked better flavors of Jarritos soda. Right now they have orange, lime and fruit punch. Boring. How about some mango or tamarind?

            Our tacos were kind of a mixed bag. Some very good and some pretty dull. For my money, I'd rather go somewhere more authentic like Los Ocampo. I don't think I'd make a special trip to Rusty Taco again, but I might stop by if I'm in the neighborhood and hungry.

             
            3 Replies
            1. re: Dasha

              Thanks for the blow by blow!

              I suspect your "I needed to go to TJ's, might as well hit up RT" is the reason many people will end up frequenting RT.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Stopped by this evening and tried The Rusty Taco which was delicious, no over moisture problems from the pineapple here. Also had the Fried Fish and Roasted Pork with pickled Onions. All were delicious and a bit spicy which I enjoyed. The different salsas were a nice touch as well. Nothing to get too excited or overly critical about either way, after all they are only tacos. But very tasty ones IMHO.

              2. re: Dasha

                Monday at 4 p.m. Same deal as the others - I was at TJ's anyway, it said it was open, I was starved, so in I went. I only got one of the #5 brisket tacos to go, drove to Como Lake and watched the ducks while scarfing. One very fine taco, for $2.50. I will be back. And listen, I'm from San Antonio - I know brisket and I know my cheap tacos!

              3. 1st Rusty Taco visit on Tuesday this week:

                Fish taco - I accidentally ordered grilled instead of fried (what was I thinking?). This was my least favorite taco. The grilled fish was pretty bland and the toppings couldn't make up for it.

                Brisket taco - Holy buckets, I'm with San Antonio Rose on this one. Soo goood. I've been thinking of it ever since. Big, slightly smoky, tender chunks of beef. I don't even remember what else was on it. Um, yum!

                Fried chicken taco - I almost loved this too - nice flavorful and tender fried chicken with really tasty, crunchy cabbage slaw and a jalapeno ranch sauce. It worked. I loved all the textures and the tangy creaminess of the sauce. The only negative I have to say is that the chicken seemed like it had been fried hours ago - it lacked the crispiness I was hoping for.

                Other notes:

                Parking might be an issue - TJ customers tend to prefer parking above ground, and it's often hard to find an above ground spot. I didn't notice whether TJ allows RT parking in the TJ lot.

                Staff were very friendly, if a little clumsy. I attributed it to new job jitters.

                5 Replies
                1. re: diesel

                  That parking lot made me want to kill, and I'm pretty sure some of the people I encountered deserved to die. Is there street parking available for this place?

                  1. re: kevin47

                    You could give parking a shot on Randolph west of Lexington. Pretty busy with all the apartment buildings there and it's a well-traveled street, but it's a choice. Most of the streets adjacent to the place are no-parking, but if you're OK with walking a few blocks, more options present themselves.

                    From the reviews I've read, parking in that tiny tiny lot is the only thing short of food poisoning which would kill Rusty Taco. I can't believe TPTB actually approved a high-traffic restaurant there.

                    1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                      We tried to go there last Saturday, Apr 30 and got stuck in the parking lot for 15 minutes before we went somewhere else. The parking is a huge issue for this place. We live about a mile away so if it ever gets nice we can walk over. If we had to rely on finding a parking spot we proably would never go there. If you can go at an off time during the week it might be better.

                      1. re: chazmo

                        We went for lunch on Thursday, 11:30, no issues in the parking lot. I would imagine, though, that on weekends it's going to be a problem.

                        The brisket, roast pork, the Rusty, the shrimp, and the fried chicken tacos were all huge winners. A couple folks thought the roast pork taco was a bit dry and needed a sauce to lubricate things a bit, but personally I really liked it being a bit on the drier side, which really put focus on the excellent flavor of the roast pork.

                        Overall, a fantastic addition to the area. Visiting it will require some thought about time of day and related parking, but if willing to go slightly early or late, it's well worth the visit.

                      2. re: steve_in_stpaul

                        Yeah, plus they make the TJ's employees park there (on Randolph west of Lex).

                  2. Went back Saturday night. They were out of brisket (horror!). I tried:

                    Fish taco (fried) - pretty not good. The fish was tough. I do not appreciate tough fish.

                    Shrimp taco - OK. The shrimp were plentiful and crisply fried, but were not of great quality.

                    Roasted pork taco - That's what I'm talking about. Nice and tender, smoky, not too salty, yumminess. Still not as good as the brisket.

                    Overall impression: Parking was a beast. The lot was absolutely swarming with cars (going the wrong way in one way zones!) and there were a few cars parked in non-spots. We had to park on the street about a block away.

                    Also, I'm starting to think this is not the place for seafood - having tried the fish tacos both ways and found them tough both times, and the shrimp just meh, I'll lean toward beef and pork in the future. The jury's still out on chicken.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: diesel

                      We went Saturday afternoon and I agree about the fish, I thought it was pretty not good too. It didn't taste fresh. I did like the brisket, the pork, and the rajas (veggies) a lot. They desperately need to double up on the tortillas though, they were soaked through and falling apart.

                      1. re: sarahcooks

                        This place is mediocre at best. I tried 6 different tacos with a group of people and the only one that was actually a good taco was the brisket. The fish was terrible and all the others were just ok at best. I agree with the poster above doubling up tortillas is a must, way to soaked. The one that wasn't was the roast pork and that one was way to dry. There are so many better options for mexican, maybe not right in that area but a short drive away.

                      2. re: diesel

                        Update: after visit #4, I'm concluding that RT is quite inconsistent, except the fish taco, which is consistently terrible.

                        When the brisket is on, it's really really on. But when it's not, it's ho-hum. Same with the pork. Inconsistency will kill a place. I hope they can fix the problem.

                        1. re: diesel

                          I agree about the fish taco, although I've heard say that the fried mahi one is pretty good. I've only had the grilled and refuse to ever try it again.
                          As for the meat ones, I have not been disappointed EVER by the brisket (NOT the BBQ one, the regular one). I had the #2 (with shredded pork) for the first time today, subbing out grilled onions for the pickled ones, which just sounded weird, and asking for a little cilantro, and that was delish. Seems like the shredded meats are the best bet for flavor and consistency (as in quality consistency, not mouth-feel).

                      3. Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought it was pretty good for what it was: a step above fast food that happened to serve beer. Hubby and I stopped by on our way to visit TJs and were pleasantly surprised. Everythinf we tried was delicious and it ended up around $15. Plus, I liked being able to order in quantities to match my appetite. (I'm sure that nobody else does this, but sometimes I end up eating more than I intended, thanks to the mega portions...)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: latte4me

                          I tried the place the other day and I would rather eat at Chipotle. Heck, I'd rather eat at Taco Bell or Taco Johns. I really did not enjoy the two tacos I tasted. They were way too greasy and had very little in the way of actual flavor.

                          And I really like the tacos at El Burrito Mercado, Los Ocampos, La Hacienda, Border Taco Truck or Adelita's. The kind with two corn torillas, some kinda meat, cilantro and white onion and maybe some salsa of some kind.

                          And finally, the name reminds me of a sex act defined at urban dictionary. Not really an association I want with food.

                          -----
                          El Burrito Mercado
                          175 Cesar Chavez St, St Paul, MN 55107

                          La Hacienda
                          2467 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55116

                          1. re: latte4me

                            I do that! All the time! Ditto on what you said, although it isn't that difficult to order more than you can (I mean should) eat; e.g., chips and queso with that taco (I speak from experience :( )