Baja Fish Taco and Tuna Mushroom Taco from Gringo's
Tuesday meant tacos. Having strolled past Gringo's Taqueria on more than one occasion either to grab a pint at Back Bay Brewing Company or for a tuna poke bowl at Zeke’s Beans and Bowls, I was on a mission to dabble in the Mexican grub at Gringo’s. I stepped just off of Norfolk Avenue in Virginia Beach’s Shadowlawn neighborhood and into the restaurant flooded with all of the delicious smells that Mexican cuisine entails—margaritas, fresh-squeezed lime juice and the toasty aftermath of tortillas. With the place packed out with regulars, clearly I was late to the Gringo’s train.
Since it was just after noon, my friend and I opted out of the margaritas and dove straight into lunch. While simultaneously catching up with one another and scanning the menu we managed to practically inhale their complimentary homemade salsa without missing a beat. The salsa wasn’t your average preserved, flavorless deal. Instead we were met with fresh, vibrant flavors and an extra dose of heat—so tasty we didn't hesitate to simmer the spice. Their extensive menu breaks down to 10 taco varieties, eight burrito varieties and of course the classic salad, quesadilla and kids’ menu. After getting sidetracked from the salsa, we went all in to embrace their tacos.
A lover of fish tacos, I ordered one classic Baja Fish Taco as well as their Tuna Mushroom taco. My friend, not too keen on seafood, preferred the Carne Asada and Chicken. An Arizona native, she knows her Mexican food, and it’s safe to say she’s had her fair share. Admittedly, since she moved to Virginia Beach, she hadn't tracked down Mexican fare that came close to the West Coast...until now. The tacos arrived abundantly stuffed prompting us to poke with our forks, leveling off the fresh tomatoes and lettuce slivers. Once we took our first bites, I got the thumbs up, and I knew all was well for my Arizonian gal pal.
The Pabst beer battered fish in my taco was deep fried to a nice crunch, pairing sweetly with a thrilling, spicy habanero cream sauce and fresh salsa. I know they're known for their traditional fish tacos, but the tuna and mushroom taco is what will keep me coming back. The tuna chunks were juicy, blackened and peppery. The mushrooms added an unlikely earthiness that I'm not used to when it comes to tacos, but combined with pico de gallo and a hefty drizzle of their habanero cream sauce, this taco was one for the books.
With just two tacos under my belt at Gringo’s—and all the chips and salsa—they've already sworn me in as a regular.