To say that I love Mexican food would be an understatement. I will pretty much eat Mexican food at any given time on any given day. So when I heard that a new restaurant boasting a modern take on Mexican cuisine had opened, I was pretty excited to check it out.
My partner and I arrived at about 7 p.m. on a Friday excited to try out this new taqueria for the first time. The restaurant was full, which I saw as a good sign – it’s always great to see a new local business thriving.
Service at Modern Taco Company is canteen style and I was pretty hungry so I ordered four tacos: maple chipotle pulled pork, marinated grilled steak, jerk chicken, and the falafel taco. My partner and I also ordered the chips and dip to share, which came with pico de gallo and guacamole.
Our chips and dip came out pretty quickly; both dips tasted fresh, but were bland and lacked flavour. This would work nice as a palate cleanser between spicy dishes, but as an appetizer it was underwhelming.
The atmosphere was cozy but incredibly hot and smelled strongly of grease, enough that I had to change when I got home because my clothes were saturated with the smell.
Our food took about 30 minutes after that to come out. We found ourselves wondering if they had forgotten about us as no one had really let us know what was going on and why service was so slow. When our food finally came out, the server was extremely apologetic and remarked that this was the busiest night they’ve had since they opened.
We happily dug into our food as we were quite hungry by this point, but were certainly disappointed to say the least.
The tacos were somewhat soggy and bordering on cold when we got to them, which I suppose might be due to the fact that the kitchen was overwhelmed, but still not what you hope for in a taco. The offerings also seemed quite small even for a taco, especially at a price point of $10.75 for four.
I tried the marinated steak taco first, which came with caramelized onions on top. It had a bold BBQ taste but lacked other dimensions. The flavour was one note and left me wanting more.
Second up was the jerk chicken taco, which I ordered without pineapple due to allergies. I was under the impression that it would come with other toppings as well, but sadly I was presented with a taco shell filled with chicken and nothing else. I would have appreciated it if the employee who had taken my order had pointed this out prior to ordering, but I suppose that was really my mistake.
The flavour of the jerk chicken was bland and surprisingly not spicy at all. All of the jerk chicken flavours were present but far off in the distance, to the point where I felt myself straining to taste them fully.
I then tried the falafel taco, which was hearty and would likely be a great treat if I was a vegetarian or vegan, but I again found myself struggling with the lack of flavour, adding lots of hot sauce in order to taste anything at all.
Last, but certainly not least, was the maple chipotle pork, which I purposely saved because of my love for pulled pork. This one was easily my favourite as it was packed with smoky chipotle BBQ flavour and topped with a sprinkling of pickled red onions. I still, however, found myself wanting more and could have eaten at least another one of these wonderful pork tacos.
All in all, Modern Taco Company gets a thumbs down from this taco lover. I definitely see what they’re aiming for with their healthy, fresh take on Mexican food, but their food needs to pack more of a punch in order to get me on board.
Illustration by Bradly Wohlgemuth.