photo credit: Mary Lagier
Nick's Crispy Tacos
Nick’s Crispy Tacos in Russian Hill has mirrored walls, red everything, crystal chandeliers, plush drapes, and a singular disco ball, and feels like a club. So, yes, it's the perfect spot for a taco. And not a bad taco at that. There’s also excellent guacamole, cheap beers, solid quesadillas, and the miracle of engineering that is the corn on a stick. But, ultimately, all that good stuff is burdened slightly by a weak burrito game.
So go ahead and fill up on decent tacos and guacamole, they will definitely hit the spot. If you want to eat the same food nearby, but in a classier atmosphere, consider heading to Tacko in the Marina—they swap the red upholstery of Nick’s for nautical flags and sailboat paintings.
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Chips & Guacamole
The chips are legit homemade, not out of a bag. The guacamole is out-of-control good, served half guac, half fresh, chunky pico to mix together. I would eat this all day.
Black Bean & Grilled Corn Taco Salad
Do not attempt to be healthy at Nick’s. You will fail. And end up with a sad salad of corn, beans, romaine and pico, resting under a thick armor of tortilla strips. The dressing is nice and tangy, but you might as well just get another order of the chips & guacamole.
Nick’s goes the extra mile and gives you two tortillas per taco to prevent sog, a nice touch, but this tends to accentuate the blandness of the flavors. Pescado and camarones tacos are worthwhile - well-cooked, seasoned and for the pescado, perfectly fried. The grilled fish is too dry, and pollo asado lacks zing - with the actual chicken hiding in an unruly mess of tasteless cabbage slaw. Getting tacos “Nick’s Way,” which includes cheese and guac, definitely improves the experience, mostly because you’re eating more delicious guacamole.
I wish these were better. The carnitas burrito doesn’t taste bad, but it also doesn’t taste like anything. The texture is like eating a wrap filled with baby food - something I never intended to do after my 2nd birthday. The fish and shrimp burritos are kicked up with onions and cilantro, but stick with tacos when you’re at Nick’s and you’ll go home a happy camper.