Sherman's Food Adventures: Miso Taco

Miso Taco

With a name like Miso Taco, one would get the idea the place was some fusion between Japanese and Mexican.  Well, you would be completely right to assume that because the menu features a large section of tacos that have elements of Asian-inspiration.  Located in the old location of the Dark Side/The Union, it sports a fairly spacious industrial-looking dining space.  Love that they included a Street Fighter arcade game for us to practice our upper-cut skills.  We were invited to try out the food here and I can say that it was very interesting.

We started out strong with my favourite dish, the Sizzling Cheese & Sautéed Mushrooms (with Teriyaki Beef added).  This ooey gooey concoction was so cheesy and savoury that it ate well by itself.  But like the Jack-in-the-Box commercial, "your hands would be covered with meat & cheese!".  Hence, the side of grilled tortillas were the perfect vessel to pick up the tender salty sweet nuggets of beef and the stringy cheese.  Delicious.

So another full-on dish was the Kimchi Fries with refried beans, shredded cheese, kimchi, red onions and cilantro.  We added chicken karaage for good measure.  As you can clearly see, this dish needed to be shared because it would be much even for 2 people.  Due to the amount of ingredients on top, the fries were not really all that crispy anymore.  However, we considered it a quasi-poutine where the fries only served as a blank canvas for all of the other ingredients to flavour.  That it did with spice, tang and sharpness.  Large and fried perfectly, the chicken was tender and juicy.  A choice of dip was offered as part of this dish and I will discuss that later in the post.

The one dish that may need some retooling is the Tempura Enoki.  We thought it sounded good but alas, the fact that enoki mushrooms are so delicate with thin stems meant that frying them wouldn't work.  So despite the tempura batter being crispy and really appealing, the mushroom part of the equation really didn't exist.  Maybe using more robust mushrooms would be better?  Like Shimeji?  Due to the lack of mushroom, this dish also ate very greasy since it was all batter.

So onto the sauces I was talking about earlier...  From top left and clockwise, we had the Diego's Salsa, Macho Chili Oil, Green, Chunky Green Salsa, Avocado Salsa, Pico de Gallo and Smoked Pepper Salsa.  My favourite by far was the chili oil as it had a real kick with a rich smokiness.  As much as this was spicy, it wasn't painful either.  The smoked pepper was also very good due to the fact it had depth and balanced spice.

We moved onto the namesake of this restaurant in the Miso Taco.  This featured deep fried cod with coleslaw, green onions, bonito, cilantro and miso dressing.  This was quite good with flaky fish with a light and crispy tempura batter.  I found the miso dressing to have a rich savouriness without being salty.  To amp this taco beyond its mild flavours, I decided to add some of the smoked salsa.  Added depth and spice.

Onto another seafood taco, we had the Ebi Fried Taco with shredded cabbage, pickled red onion, chopped cilantro and secret sauce.  That sauce was a bit creamy and had a ebi mayo sort of vibe to it. As mentioned, they work hard in incorporating Asian-influence to the Mexican-themed dishes.  This worked well since the shrimp were meaty with a snap while coated with a crispy batter.  The cabbage added some fresh crunch while the abundance of cilantro did its herbaceous thing.

Next, we had the Attako on Taco that featured greens, secret sauce, fried octopus, chamoy, bonito flakes & green onions.  Personally, I would've named this a Tako Taco, but whatever...  LOL...  Anyways, this had some elements of takoyaki with the tangy sauce as well as bonito and of course octopus.  Just like a takoyaki, the octopus was on the chewier side, but only a bit.  Greens worked here as it helped lighten things up.

Birria Tacos are all the rage these days and they had a version of it in the Birria-Dilla with 2 flour tortillas housing melted cheese, birria, onions and cilantro with the usual dipping sauce (braising liquid) on the side.  For all the birria tacos I've had, these had to have been one of the least fatty.  You see, they typically dip the tacos into the fat of the braising liquid and then proceed to seared them on the flattop.  These were not oil-soaked, which would anger some people, due to the lack of richness and umami, but for me, that was fine.  The meat in the middle was tender and flavourful while completely coated with cheese.

On the menu, the Pozole Udon sounded interesting with its combination of mushroom broth, pozole, egg, nori, radish, cilantro and green onion.  We added some birria as well.  As much as the udon was nicely prepared and the broth was clean, the bowl needed a bit more oomph.  It ate a bit too mild and dare I say, healthy.  Maybe this is what they were aiming for?  For us, a bit more salt would've done wonders.

Finally, for dessert, we had the Elote Cake as well as the Kinako Mochi & Churros.  These were fine sweets to end the meal.  The cake was moist and aromatic with a crisped exterior.  Loved the natural sweetness of the corn as well as the addition of strawberry quince yuzu compote brightened things up with a sweet tang.  As for the churros, they were crispy and light while the grilled mochi added a nice chew.  The kinako powder did its nutty thing much like Korean injeomi.  Overall, we thought the meal was definitely different with some real highlights.  The enoki mushrooms and udon could use some refinement, but the tacos, sizzling cheese and sauces were quite good.

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this post*

The Good:
- Nice vibe and there is street fighter!
- Some real highlights such as the sizzling cheese, tacos and sauces
- Okay pricing

The Bad:
- Some dishes may need to be rethought
- Parking is a bit hard to find sometimes


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