We will be rating each restaurant prior to eating at each establishment solely on its name. This will enable us to evaluate the validity of our theory in each instance. We will also rate each establishment on various factors to help our audience get the "feel" of each place. We hope to have at least two reviewers at each location.
Tacqueria Mr. Salsa
1026 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
Date reviewed: February 18, 2001. Authors: MJD, MMD
Rating based on name (out of 10 bananas):MJ.D.7
Post-Dining: 7.5 cumulative
Total bill For 2 people: $7.88
Menu: TMrS overs an extensive and bilingual wall mounted menu. Rightfully so English gets second billing on most menu items. The menu offers your standard fare of taco, burritos, and tortas. We failed to try the mini-chimichanga and next time we will try the fresh chips which they fried to order in front of our very own eyes. Dishes: MJ.D. tried the 2 taco platter con arroz y frioles. The chicken taco was excellent and the taco sauce generously supplied in squeeze bottles had just the right amount of heat. The beef taco was good but more the the standard fare (still far outclassing Taco Bell -- which is really in a class all its own). Both the rice and beans were subtle in taste but very good. MM.D. just had the Taco al pastor (having eaten on the way over at Boston Chicken p.s. I will never call it Boston Market!). The pork was savory and flavorful but I can say I overused the sauce and had to cough a few times. We both enjoyed the horchata, flavorful and refreshing without being overly sweet.
Atmosphere: The diner style counter is the signature place to enjoy your meal though there are more private table to the sides of the restaurant. Brush up on your spanish if you want to share in the counter banter with the locals. Even on a Sunday mid-afternoon TMrS was lively and full of customers. The best part was having the cold air hit your ass when someone opened the door. As for ambiance I will give TMrS a full ten bananas! This is solely for the one of a kind Sacred heart of Jesus Tacqueria Mr. Salsa wall calendar displayed at the rear of the store (The calendar was not from a local church but was imprinted with the TMrS name. The staff were quite friendly and we'd recommend that everyone try this dining experience.
UPDATE April 14, 2001: Today was our second time to TMrS together. However mJD has been several times since our initial review. Our opinion remains unchanged. Good stuff! We did try the made-to-order chips which were tasty, but not extraordinarily so. What was was most amazing was that this was the first time I truely burnt my tongue on a tortilla chip. Additionally, our suspicion that tortilla chips are made of... tortillas! They were sliced and fried in front of our eyes. A must try for Chicagoans.
UPDATE September 21-22, 2001: By now we've been to "the Tacqueria" many times. Today was the first time we've been there so late, probably around midnight or so. This time almost the whole gang was there, MMD, MJD, MJD2B, and MJD2(AC) (It must be a chain). As we've always suspected... really always known, but have mostly supressed, there's some questionable activity around the Uptown area of Chicago, as evidenced by the many police cars and the Pizza Factory. Tonight we saw some possible/probable drug-involved activity. On the bright side MJD2(AC) made a new friend. She appeared to be a frequent visitor to TMrS and struck up a lively conversation. Unfortunately she seemed to be... let's say "lacking some of her frioles". Also she didn't know Diane and Frank, and everybody in Uptown knows Diane and Frank. Still TMrS still holds up as one of the gems of the area. Just make sure to try the Cabeza de Res.
Our next review: "Plenty" -- It's got to be Good Chinese food!
2002 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Date reviewed: February 22, 2001. Authors: MJD, MMD
Rating based on name (out of 10 bananas):MJ.D.8
Post-Dining: 3.25 cumulative
Total bill For 2 people: $18.60
Atmosphere: The only plus of the location was the entertainment provided by the ten year-old children of the staff, jumping back and forth through the entrance with a tube of toothpaste in hand. The performance was spine chilling, though it could have been the thirty degree weather outside.
Conclusion: A setback for the theory, but hope is not yet lost.
4801 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640
Date reviewed: September 21, 2001. Author: MJD2(AC)
(Editor's note: This restaurant was not initially considered as the name of the restaurant barely qualifies for the theory, but given the excellent review that was written, we can hardly not publish it. Please excuse the gaps in the review... they will be remedied after a short beating of the author)
Rating based on name (out of 10 bananas):MJD
6 bananas/MJD2B--7 bananas
Post-Dining: 6.916 cumulative
Total bill For 3 people: $27.59
EXPERIENCE: Upon our party's arrival at the Chunky Wok, we were greeted by a charming (aren't they all?) little (aren't they all) Asian man with limited abilities in English linguistics. Customer service was apparently the name of the game, because the party was seated very efficiently in an attractive window booth. In fact, so devoted to customer service was our new diminutive friend that he offered to prepare a special dish for us (upon our return to the resturaunt) consisting of pond koi swimming ignorantly in the lobby.
MENU: A diverse and far-reaching menu presented a panoply of options to these three hungry monkeys. M.J.D. ordered the scallion pancakes as an appitizer, which were tasty, if not downright delicious. M.J.D.2B and MJD2(AC) both selected a superior, vintage egg-drop soup, which proved itself to be hearty, thick, and satisfying. The entire party also enjoyed hot Chinese tea. Interestingly, the staff at the Choosy Wok apparently did or does not believe in tea bags, because our tea was presented to us in an attractive silver carafe with tea leaves free from the bounds of confinement. (Editors note: The way tea should be served)
For the main course, M.J.D. selected (as appears to be his habit and practice) empress chicken. M.J.D.2B ordered garlic chicken and vegetables, and MJD2(AC) chose the cashew chicken. In all three dishes, the chicken was tender, tasty, and free of any predilection towards stringness. The vegetables, for the most part, were well paired with the dish and presented in appropriate quantities. Further, the sauces on all three dishes were not only colorful, adding to the overall presentation experience, but tasty as well.
The only reservation that this author-monkey had with the meal was the Chuckling Wok's over-reliance on zucchini as a "filler veggie." Traditionally an italian ingredient, the amount of zucchini in M.J.D.(AC)'s cashew chicken was approximately equal to that of all of the other ingredients combined. This makes this author-monkey wonder if there was not some "Iron Chef Italian" mentality in the kitchen of the Chipper Wok.
In any event, the meal ended, as all good chinese meals do, with much comraderie and with the presentation of fortune cookies. Although most of the fortunes read as contrived and trite, one lucky monkey's fortune told him that he would soon "gain the attention of those who count."
BILL: The meal being finished, the bill was presented, and was wholly reasonably by all accounts. The Cheapo Wok's lunch menu not only provided adequate afternoon protions to these hungry monkeys, but also did so in an economical manner.
ATMOSPHERE: There is an ages-old maxim that advises hungry monkeys that good food can be found at a Chinese resturaunt filled with customers. (Editor's note: The maxim actually states that good food can only be found in a Chinese restaurant filled with ASIAN customers) Disturbingly, the Chowfu Wok had only one other party eating lunch on a Saturday at 1:00 pm. However, the quality of the food, entertaining (aren't they all) wait staff, and the attractive furnishings reassured this party. A nice addition was the Koi pond in the lobby where, apparently, frequent customers can select their lunch.
CONCLUSION: Although the name escapes us, the Chuckling Wok was, overall, an extremely satisfying dining experience. It's hard to go wrong with Chinese food, but the Chipper Wok proved itself to be slightly ahead of it's competitors in terms of menu selection, ambiance, service, and food quality.
Although I agree with the general sentiment of the majority in this case, in that the food was good, the atmosphere was nice, and the service was fine, I cannot agree with the depiction of all Asian men as of diminuitive stature with poor English language skills. While no doubt intended as humorous, such stereotyping belongs only in routines of comedians without the talent and ability to come up with better material. This court (review) is better than that.
Additionally, I was able to remember the name of the restaurant, despite the fact that it is not a chain.
Hope is not lost, future possible reviews include "Spoon" in Chicago, and "I Love Mr. Sushi" in St. Louis. We haven't made it yet though.
If you have a restaurant in the Metro Detroit or Chicagoland areas worthy
of examination by our Archermonkey staff, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with your suggestions. We might even invite you to lunch... your treat.
(Poor suggestions that fail to meet the basic requirements of our theory shall result in public ridicule.)
DISCLAIMER: Archermonkey, its affiliates, employees and staff hereby disclaim, to the maximum extent permitted by law, liability for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, exemplary, reliance and punitive damages arising out of or in connection with, or related to, this review, use of this review, and any dining experiences as a result of this review, regardless of the theory of claim, and even if Archermonkey or any other person has been advised of the possibility of such damages.