It was the day after Thanksgiving and we decided to lunch at SqWires in Lafayette Square. Amazingly enough I was actually hungry and hours before our lunch plans I was already perusing the menu online. The Gourmet Grilled Cheese with white cheddar, sliced pears, bacon and almond pesto on sourdough was calling my name. But when I sat down at the restaurant and was presented with the specials of the day, there it was, the Friday Fish Taco. How could I say no, right? I had an obligation as a fish taco blogger. A pursuit for greatness to follow! It certainly sounded appealing on the menu - three tempura Alaskan cod tacos wrapped in warm flour tortillas with shredded cabbage, cheddar and chipotle ranch, served with a black bean salsa and corn chips. For a whopping $14. But what I was served was the blandest version of fish tacos I've tasted to date. The tortillas were stale and wrapped like rolled-up crepes. The fish portion was hardly generous and the chipotle ranch, cabbage and cheddar would have needed magnification to spot. The black bean salsa was really the only edible portion of the meal. I kept drooling at the Gourmet Grilled Cheese that my mom had ordered with pangs of remorse. But fear not, my resolve to find the Holy Grail of fish tacos was tested, but has not faltered.
1415 South 18th Street
Saint Louis, MO 63104 (314) 865-3522
La Vallesana is my favorite little Mexican joint on Cherokee Street. The food is delicious and the prices can't be beat! But while everything on the menu - the burrito, torta and quesadilla - comes with a "camarones a la diabla" (spicy shrimp) option, the taco for some reason does not. Since the quesadilla is prepared with cheese, mayonaisse and lettuce, it will have to do for this fish taco blogger review. The spicy shrimp quesadilla is served on a wheat-flour tortilla, which is a little bit crisp here and there, so it's not that far removed from a taco. The spicy shrimp is spicy indeed and is cooked up perfectly. And if the spice factor is not high enough, then you can add one of two salsas - a smoky red with a medium kick to it or the green chile spicy salsa. The quesadilla is served with a side of fresh and chunky guacamole and chips (a bit on the bland and stale side unfortunately). They do not have a liquor licence, but be sure to try one of their fresh and homemade agua frescas. The seating is primarily outdoors on their patio, so this is the first place I head to once the temperatures thaw (something I can only be wistful about seeing as it is mid December). They recently opened up a La Vallesana 2 across the street with indoor seating and a more expansive menu... I'll have to check it out and update the review when I do.
2801 Cherokee St.
Saint Louis, MO 63118 (314) 776-4223