Located in Costa Mesa’s very own mini-Portland, The OC Mix, Taco Maria is the first brick and mortar restaurant of the food truck by the same name. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original food truck, but apparently I’m some sort of idiot because everybody else loved it. I came here for lunch which is a shame, because I hear to truly appreciate what chef Carlos Salgado has done you have to come for dinner where the only option is a $52 prix-fixe menu that doesn’t even serve tacos. I didn’t do that though, so instead of getting a proper review of what Taco Maria is capable of, you’re going to get a half-assed review of something not even representative of what this place is supposed to be. Go me. It’s like going to Chick-fil-A and doing a review based entirely on their ketchup packets (best in the business by the way).
Caesar (little gems, anchoïade, OC sourdough, parmigiano) $8
I don’t normally make distinctions for Caesar salads, but the anchovy puree (is that what anchoïade is?) gives this thing that little hint of anchovy that your typical Caesar is lacking. And while normally saying something tastes like anchovies couldn’t possibly be a good thing, I mean it in the best possible way here.
Pescado Frito (golden corvina, charred scallion aioli, cabbage, grapes) $16
Grapes are probably the most underrated food in cooking. There are few dishes out there where adding a few grapes wouldn’t enhance the overall flavor and this fish taco is no exception. Want to elevate your local beer battered fish taco? Do what Taco Maria does and throw some grapes in there.
Arrachera (hanger steak, toreados, queso Oaxaca, applewood bacon) $16
Pretty good, but it lacked a certain something. That certain something being grapes.
Handmade hot sauce? Don’t mind if I do.
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626