Crispy Fish tacos with tempura, smoked cabbage, scallions and Sriracha Tartar Sauce, Antique Taco, Chicago.
I’ve had tacos on the brain all summer long. No, all year. It started out when I discovered this past winter that Taco Joint, which is in my neighborhood, is amazing. Just as good as Big Star, if not better. There is never a time I don’t want tacos, and it’s now a mission of mine to try all the city has to offer.
So Antique Taco opened up about a month ago in Wicker Park, and despite the cutesy name and decor, which usually are a red flag that the focus on food isn’t quite where it should be, it held up to the TimeOut Chicago claim that it can compete with Big Star.
The tacos are large, it’s not a menu where you’ll likely want to order 3 or 4 of them, especially if you get a side like guacamole or the habanero popcorn (must try that next time). The crispy fish ones were pretty great, what I remember most from them is the smoked cabbage and tartar sauce combination though. Was the fish part better than average? I have no idea, because in addition to making them beautiful, those toppings provided a nice, crunchy, tart flavor combo.
We also tried their sweet & spicy chicken ones with cucumber, jalapeno pickle, honey yogurt and purple onion. These were OK but I think I would have liked them to have a bit more spice in them. My advice is to go with the crispy fish and try another set like the carnitas.
The two things about this place that I wouldn’t say are wholly positive are the ordering setup and the menu flexibility, or lack thereof. This is counter service where you order at the front and wait for a table, but I think because they were new they just didn’t have it running smoothly. There was also a bunch of space in the back that seemed like it could hold tables, but it was empty. In terms of the menu, you have to order 2 of 1 kind of taco, you can’t just order 1 of each if that’s what you want. Now I didn’t ask to do it, so who knows, maybe if you push they’ll allow it. But that’s how I always want to order my tacos, I want to try them all!
I’ll be back here to try the other tacos and that habanero popcorn and pop over to Emporium to play old school arcade games next door.