Taco Task Force: Los Angeles Fish Tacos

Fish Taco Los Angeles

FISH TACO GUIDE CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE

Taco Task Force Stop #4: The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, which Joseph Cordova debuted next to a Los Feliz auto repair shop in 2007.

For his fish tacos ($1.50), Cordova’s cooks flash-fry flavorful basa (farm raised catfish) in canola oil and grill store-bought tortillas until crispy. Since the batter isn’t crispy, I liked the tortillas’ texture, but Bill and The Glutster said that simply isn’t done in Baja. This was clearly the most flavorful fish of the day, texture aside.
Fish Taco Los Angeles
The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada was the only restaurant that allows customers to dress their own tacos, which is standard in Baja and rang true for the Street Gourmet. The well-stocked salsa bar hosts bowls of shredded radish relish, Pineapple Kiss (“tropical refreshing bite”), Hot Guac, Mad Mango, Mango Less (“all of the passion – none of the mango”), Mild (“delicious, but wimpy”), plus shredded cabbage for crunch and a dispenser of La Crema Magica (“the final ingredient”). None of the salsas is particular stellar, but they are unique options.

Grade of Key Ingredient: 4.5, J 4.5, C 3.5, B 3.5 AVERAGE 4/5
Condiment: 3.5 B 2.5, C 3.5, J 4 AVERAGE 3.375/5
Authenticity: 2.5 J 2.5, B 3.5, C 3.5 AVERAGE 3/5
Overall Flavor: 4, C 3, J 4, B 3.5 AVERAGE 3.875
Cooking 3.5, C 3, J 3, B 3 AVERAGE 3.125/5

OVERALL FISH TACO SCORE: 3.475/5

Taco Task Force Stop #5…postponed. Ricky’s Fish Tacos was going to be our final fish taco stop, but Bill checked Ricky’s Twitter account and it read, “HOLA EVERY 1 & SORRY!! UNXPCTD TRIP, RFT CLOSED TODAY AGAIN. WILL OPEN NXT SAT & SUN. THNX 4 UR UNDERSTANDING. C U LATER…” We’ll have to return to Sunset Junction on another day.

So far, Tacos Baja has an oh-so-slight edge on The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, with Ricky’s Fish Tacos on deck. That means our final determination about the best fish taco in L.A. will have to wait.

UPDATE – December 23, 2009 After enduring rainouts and vacations, every participant in this round of Taco Task Force visited Taco Task Force Stop #5 – Ricky’s Fish Tacos – which debuted earlier this year near Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction.
Fish Taco Los Angeles

Ricky is an Ensenada native who grew up making fish tacos from cazon and angelito shark. Those varieties of fish would be prohibitively expensive to source in the U.S., so he opted for basa. Ricky fries his fish to order in a light batter that’s seasoned with salt, oregano and mustard. The fish taco ($2.50) achieved a near ideal balance, with flaky white fish, a crisp, thin-sheathed crust, just enough crunchy cabbage and judicious streaks of crema, in this case a mix of mayo and milk. Ricky also makes a spicy, just right salsa from tomato, jalapeno, onion and garlic. The tortilla may be floppy and pulled from a bag, but it held together well and didn’t distract from the key ingredients. Ricky’s Fish Tacos was our unanimous selection for best Baja style fried fish taco in Los Angeles.

Grade of Key Ingredient: 4, J 5, C 4.5, B 3.5 AVERAGE 4.25/5
Condiment: 4.5 B 4, C 4.5, J 4.5 AVERAGE 4.375/5
Authenticity: 3.5 J 5, B 4, C 4 AVERAGE 4.125/5
Overall Flavor: 4, C 4.5, J 5, B 4 AVERAGE 4.625/5
Cooking 4.5, C 4.5, J 5, B 4.5 AVERAGE 4.625/5

OVERALL FISH TACO SCORE: 4.4/5

If there’s a great Baja-style fish taco in L.A. that we missed, please leave your recommendation in the Comments section below.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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[…] Jonathan Gold’s Picks for Where to Find a Taste of Baja in Los Angeles Posted June 21, 2013 by Gillian Ferguson | 202740 Commentshttp%3A%2F%2Fblogs.kcrw.com%2Fgoodfood%2F2013%2F06%2Fjonathan-golds-picks-for-where-to-find-a-taste-of-baja-in-los-angeles%2FJonathan+Gold%27s+Picks+for+Where+to+Find+a+Taste+of+Baja+in+Los+Angeles2013-06-21+19%3A11%3A59Gillian+Fergusonhttp%3A%2F%2Fblogs.kcrw.com%2Fgoodfood%2F%3Fp%3D20274 | 1 views] Tacos Baja Ensenada on Whittier Blvd. Photo: Food GPS […]

Hello there, I am wondering if you guys still looking for that perfect fish taco, if you guys are, then come down to san diego and try my baja style fish tacos, They have been nominated best fish tacos by signonsandiego, and well as my award winning salsa. Let me know if this will be something you are interested in, I wont dissapoint for sure…. Thank you for your time

7 Mares taco stand on Sunset in Silver Lake has a good fish taco best paired with a shrimp ceviche tostada. Only eat at the Taco stand, dont go in the restaurant.

Hey, Mike. I will definitely have a look at la 5ta/Castillo as well as your other rec, but the stand in front of El Aguila has been around, I wanna say for more than 15 years, off the top of my head. I believe it’s longer, but they are popular, always busy, and they get much love from me and anyone I’ve taken there. They are the only other one I’ve been to, counting many, that use cazon besides El Fenix. Angelito is used at the cheaper places and I believe cod was used by the Mercado Negro stalls.

But, the El Aguila stand, an excellent selection of salsas, perfect cooking everytime, nice balance of seasoning in the fish and batter. Tender in, and a light crunch on the outside.

WOW nice work, i must say that only Ricky’s tacos look like fish tacos from Ensenada, the next time i’m at LA i’ll see if i can eat at Rick’s place.

By the way here in Ensenada there’s not a lot of love for the fish tacos in from of El Aguila, since they aren’t that good, when in town look for the fish tacos at 5th Avenue (Avenida Juárez) in the corner of Castillo Street, there’s the best fish tacos i’ve tasted in all my life, they have another place. The second place to eat would be at Espinoza Street and 6th Avenue (a mere 3 street walk from the first place), there are a couple more but i could tell you later ;-).

Mike, thanks for the Ensenada fish taco recommendations. I’ll follow them on my next trip to Ensenada.

pheew…finally finished my wrap up!

quite the extensive post right?

on to tacos de birria then? right? ha ha

Tacos de birria it is, in 2010!

No love for Sky’s Taco?

I should have clarified that these are all Baja-style fried fish tacos.

I was anxiously awaiting the results when I read the tweets about the postponement on account of Ricky’s. What makes an authentic fish taco? What is the authentic fish used in Mexico?

Aaron,

Bill could better define authenticity when it comes to Baja style fish tacos. In Baja, they typically use shark, but that variety of shark isn’t available in Los Angeles.

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Great job Josh.There are kinks to be worked out but not a bad debut. The ranking system put TBE and BFTE too close, I would agree 100% on the ranking of our stops, but points were too close.

I would call TBE a 2.5 to 3 star taco when compared to the benchmark Tacos El Fenix or stand in front of El Aguila in Ensenada, which would be 4.5-5 star tacos.

The authenticity category wasn’t defined properly, so we’ll tweak our methodology.

Overall, I enjoyed mt TBE, and am vexed that Ricky was AWOL!!

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