Sunday, November 13, 2011
Fat Juicy Taco
793 Main Street
Okay, how could I not check out a place called Fat Juicy Taco? The Hendersonville joint is primarily take-out, although they do have seating for seven or eight along a counter at the window. The gracious staff certainly makes it a nice place to enjoy your meal. Owner Jesse Schofner promotes Fat Juicy Taco as Baja style Mexican. While that term is thrown around a lot these days, by a number of chain restaurants, here it means an emphasis on ingredients and preparation over seasoning.
Start with one of the eponymous tacos. You can get your taco wrapped up in a thick and fluffy flour tortilla, grilled up with a crisp skin, or you can opt for a fried corn tortilla, formed into a taco purse of sorts. They’re both good choices and notable for the unique cooking style and quality tortillas. They pile in a lot of your choice of shredded meat: chicken, pork or beef. It’s all slow-cooked and stewed in essentially the same way. That might reduce the essential beef-ness or chicken-ness, but it’s different and flavorful, in a laid back way.
The burrito gets essentially the same treatment. It’s a major mouthful of beef and a substantial lunch. A Chicken quesadilla is lightly grilled and oozing with what appears to be Monterey Jack cheese. While there are no veggie options listed on the menu, they would probably cook up a veggie version of many of the items. One of those quesadillas with black olives and jalapenos would keep the Veggie Eater happy. The guacamole is also a good option. It’s well-prepared and fresh.
Perhaps the standout menu item was the red pepper sauce enchiladas. The sauce has a comforting richness and provides a restrained topping for the cheesy pork enchiladas. A side of chips and salsa is also recommended. The chips are fried in house; puffy and light. The pico de gallo is typical of the overall style of the place: garden-like, flavorful and mellow. If you have the time to wait or can call ahead you might also consider the Mexican pizza. It’s a 12 inch tortilla featuring all of the ingredients cooked pizza style. It takes 30 minutes, so I didn’t have time to sample on my visits.
At $3.29 each, those tacos may not be a cheap as you get at a taqueria. Fat Juicy Taco will also charge you for just about everything extra. Guacamole with your taco will run you an extra 99 cents. Needless to say the chips and salsa cost as well. However, when you get everything made in-house and with fresh, quality ingredients you should expect to pay a bit more and I found the prices to be reasonable.
Since I was dining solo, my two lunches were true pig-out fests designed to taste as many items as possible, so don’t let these costs deter you from checking out Fat Juicy Taco for yourself. I paid $14 with tax and tip on one lunch visit and $16 on another, with to-go boxes quite necessary for each. They stay open until 8pm Monday through Saturday, so it’s an option for folks picking up something for dinner (as always call ahead or visit the website because hours often change in the restaurant world).