Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
We’re in the season of Lent, a period for some believers to reflect, prepare, offer penance and practice self-denial. For many this includes eating only fish and vegetables on Fridays.
So I got to thinking… I write about food on Fridays. An observant Catholic might stumble upon my blog during this season and read about delicious and smokey barbecue. He or she might have been tempted by Mike Christensen’s description of lasagna bolognese in last week’s review. I don’t want to be the one who tempts you in your faith journey, so today I’ll offer something that better conforms to your theology – fish tacos!
Fish tacos are on a lot of Alpharetta menus these days so there’s no way to review them all. I like fish tacos because a chef can pack a lot of contrasting flavors and textures into a small package. Some were successful in this regard and others were not. Here’s what I found. Please let me know your favorite fish taco!
Boga will do tilapia in their tacos either fried or grilled. My preference is fried. Their slaw is fair but the spicy mayo makes this taco. I wish there was a little more of it. All in all, Boga’s fish taco is fair. They offer far better alternatives elsewhere on their menu.
Pure also offers fried and grilled fish tacos. The fried fish is tilapia. I liked the crisp batter which was almost tempura style. The mayo and slaw are good but the corn tortilla is awesome.
Pure’s grilled fish taco is the best in town. They use swordfish grilled with lime which comes deconstructed on the plate like a fajita. You assemble with grilled pico and fresh avocado slices. The fish is amazing with powerful grilled lime flavor. The grilled tomatoes in the pico stand out and the avocado acts as a cream sauce. If I had to nitpick about anything here it would be that it lacked a crisp texture for contrast.
BW uses the most obscure species of fish in their taco – panga. I was not familiar with the panga but it has a white flesh not unlike a lot of fish in tacos. They rub the fish in ancho chili powder before cooking. It gives BW’s fish taco the spiciest bite of any in this list. They top it with cabbage, black bean salsa and a cream sauce. It is a decent taco but is a little wet and drippy.
The first thing that hits you is the pungent smell of cotija cheese. A little dusting of this Mexican parmesan cheese goes a long way. The guys at Bite are experts at layering flavors and they certainly do that with their fish tacos. Their pickled jalapeno slaw is amazing all by itself, as is their street corn. Both find their way into the taco. There’s so much going on that the flavors completely blow away the delicate taste and texture of the grouper.
Bite’s fish taco is good. But sitting right next to it on the menu is their highly-touted mole-braised pork taco. Order that. (oops, did I mention red meat? Sorry.)
I’ve not been impressed with this Mexican newcomer to Alpharetta. Their fish tacos have been inconsistent on the two occasions I’ve had them. On my first try the mahi was overcooked and dry. A second chance turned out better. A generous application of Azul’s spicy cream sauce greatly helps these tacos. The cole slaw is decent but overall these fish tacos don’t stand out.
Photo credit: Cory Voglesonger (creative commons)