I had been to Gringo’s Tacos once before when a couple of friends came over from Queens to visit us. I remember really enjoying the place and thought this would be a great place to feature in the future. The restaurant itself is settled on a little offshoot street in Downtown Jersey City that makes it feel like it’s in its own little private area. When you walk in the vibe is all FUN. There are piñatas on the wall, neon signs and sombreros hanging. Not to mention the long bar that feels like a great place to party with friends.
All three owners are there, Darren Conway, Chef Rick and John Polkowski, Beverage Director, and all are ready to get down to business. First, we speak with Darren about the restaurant and the upcoming Gringo’s Block Party on September 29th, that will benefit the Liberty Human Society and will feature food, drinks, music, a pumpkin patch and even a moon bounce. Did you know that on Tuesday’s $25 will buy you all the tacos you can eat???
We then move on to Chef Rick, who handles (obviously) the food portion of this show. We start with my favorite: Nachos. The crispy tortilla chips are smothered in homemade queso, some more chips and queso (layering is key with nachos, people!), followed by some shredded cheese and then thrown in the broiler. They’re then topped with green onions, jalapeños pickled on premises, sour cream, and guac (DUHH). It resulted in the most camera un-friendly bite I’ve ever taken, but 100% delicious. We move on to the “Chicken n’ Waffle” taco— a thin taco shell, filled with a juicy fried chicken tender, spooned on chili honey butter and topped with burnt maple butter. I’m going to be bold and tell you that I don’t really love chicken and waffles. I don’t really feel that sweet and savory have a place in my mouth together, but these tacos proved me wrong. The mixture of sweet and savory, with the crunch of the waffle taco shell was perfect. Lastly, Chef Rick made the “We Found Nemo”, a lightly battered white fish, on a freshly homemade corn tortilla, topped with a slaw, house-made salsa, and the piece de resistance: chili-lime mayo. It was one of the most perfectly made fish tacos I’ve had.
Lastly, we visit with John Polkowski, Beverage Director, and start tasting the happy juice, as I call it. We start with the “El Chapo”, a jalapeño infused tequila, blood orange juice and lime— this is my ideal adult beverage. It’s a little spicy, but light and citrusy, all served in a beautiful skull cup. Up next I try out the cocktail flight of 3, perfect for the person who wants to try multiple drinks, but just can’t commit (did I mention it’s $15???). We go with a flight made up of the “Mex on the Beach”, the “Summer in Mexico” and their signature Frozen Margarita with Hibiscus floater. Each is light, refreshing and strong but well balanced. All cocktails are made fresh daily, and then put on tap to be easily poured, which results in… GETTING YOUR DRINK QUICKER. Side bar: they have a $6 Tecate beer and shot combo. I mean C’mon.
Gringo’s is a great place for a party, dinner with friends, or just a fun, affordable date night. For more info on Gringo’s Tacos, check out their Instagram here, or their website here. Whatever you do, try it out and have some fun.