Saturday, October 27, 2007

Taco Rosa

Taco Rosa is a favorite of fellow food blogger ChristianZ of Orange County Mexican Restaurants which has led him to do many reviews of both the Newport Beach and Tustin Marketplace locations.

Taco Rosa is located in the Irvine side of the Marketplace in the parking lot adjacent to the food court housing Pat & Oscar's, Corner Bakery, Pasta Bravo, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. This location opened in March 2007, so it is fairly new.

The dining room is very elegantly furnished, so it is a nice place to take a date. The lamps are ornately decorated, each table has a fresh rose, and the very high-backed booths keep the noise level contained.

In the above photo, you can see their chocolate fountain on the left, which we will return to at the end of the post.

Everyday there are two different flavors of aguas frescas to choose from. Today's choices were horchata and mango. The mango aguas frescas I chose was very refreshing and delicately sweetened by the natural fruit sugars.

While you may go to a Mexican restaurant and expect complimentary chips and salsa, at Taco Rosa you receive an amuse bouche of two different items whenever you visit. Today's amuse bouche was a bean tostada and a chicken flauta, both topped with cotija cheese. Served alongside the amuse bouche was escabeche, a mixture of pickled carrots, onions, and jalepenos.

The bean tostada was quite refreshing with its heaping mound of lettuce and tomatoes, peppery pinto beans, and crisp corn tortilla.

On the two occasions that we have visited Taco Rosa, Devin has ordered the Morenita Quesadilla. The whole wheat tortilla is filled with cheese, chicken, avocado, onions, and tomatoes, served with rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole, and escabeche.

Taco Rosa has an wide variety of tacos to choose from, all for $3.50 each. Although their website says that the Lobster Tacos are market price, my Lobster Tacos on this visit cost $3.50. The tacos came with more escabeche, tortilla chips, and salsa and I also had the option of accompanying the tacos with rice and beans, but I thought the three tacos would suffice.

In the above photo, clockwise from the top are the Portobello Mushroom, Salmon Taco, and Lobster Tacos. You will notice that although I only ordered one Lobster Taco, a serving comes with two Lobster Tacos because they are actually smaller in size than the other tacos.

The Lobster Tacos are topped with mango habanero cream sauce and mango relish. These were my favorite of the three tacos. The lobster was plump and juicy and served in a fried flour tortilla, making for a deliciously light and crisp taco.

In addition to the charbroiled portobello mushroom, the Portobello Taco has red peppers, onions, and cheese. Because mushrooms absorb liquids very easily, the contents of this taco were very slippery. It was not a pretty sight to see as I took a bite and the taco filling fell out the back end and oil dripped down my hands. Alas, I cannot deny a mushroom and really enjoyed the robust flavor of the portobello paired with the sweet red peppers and onions.

I was surprised by the size of the grilled salmon filet in the Salmon Taco. Topped with papaya butter sauce and papaya relish, I could barely fold the corn tortilla due to the size of the salmon. The subtle flavor of papaya complimented the strong flavor of the grilled salmon very well.

I was quite satisfied after the amuse bouche and the four tacos, but I made a sacrifice in the name of food blogging and ordered dessert.

Although not a big fan of flan, I was intrigued by the Flan De Queso served at Taco Rosa. The Flan De Queso is a baked cream cheese flan served with a pool of framboise vanilla sauce, drizzled with chocolate from their chocolate fountain, and dotted with fresh raspberries. The flan not only has the dense consistency of cheesecake, but the first flavor that hits your tongue is cheesecake and finishes smoothly with the custard flavor of flan. Paired with the creamy framboise vanilla sauce and specks of chocolate, this made for an amazing end to our meal.

Taco Rosa
13792 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602


ChristianZ said...

This place sounds great. I'll have to try it sometime. Oh wait, I've already been like a million times . . . and will go back a million more. Found out today what there specials will be for November and it sounds mighty good.

Alyssa said...

This was a fantastic recommendation, thanks ChristianZ! I will probably be back many more times as well, seeing as I live very close to the Marketplace location. Just thinking of that delicious flan...

Rebecca said...

This restaurant meets my standards of an authentic Mexican restaurant-it offers aguas frescas, cotija queso, and escabeche. Thus I have been convinced to give this restaurant a chance. My feedback to follow shortly...

Alyssa said...

rebecca: I have since tried the calamari taco only offered at the Newport Beach location and it was amazing; meltingly soft without being chewy. Although the decor at the Marketplace is intimate and romantic, I don't mind driving farther to the Newport Beach location for the calamari. Please let me know how your visit went!