Richmond, Virginia has a thriving underground music and art scene, which in my opinion, makes it one of the most interesting cities in the country. Unfortunately, this spirit of innovation hasn’t carried over to the realm of food. Historically, our restaurant offerings have been uninspired and predictable. En Su Boca, which opened this past Monday, has pushed the envelope of the traditional menu but has yet to break the mold. This taco shop branches out with dishes such as Mexican street corn and braised goat leg, without taking Richmonders too far outside their comfort zone.
En Su Boca, which translates into 'In Your Mouth,' occupies the old Triangle Adult Bookstore on Boulevard. Some may have called it an eye-sore (uh-hum…CBS news), but I always thought it was a cool building with a colorful history. When I heard a tacqueria was going to take up residence, I had high hopes since tacos are hands down one of my favorite foods.
I was eager to try what En Su Boca had to offer and decided to eat there Wednesday - Friday of their opening week. Over the course of three days, I concluded that the food is pretty solid across the board. However, almost everything felt a $1 or $2 overpriced.
On Friday night my friends Melissa, Ken, and I got a table on the patio. The weather was perfect for an alfresco dinner and our server was friendly. After a couple of drinks and some fun conversation, we were having a good time; good enough not to care about the lag in service and the sluggish arrival of food. Considering it was the restaurant's first Friday in existence, I expected delays. We didn't hold it against them since we were enjoying the outdoor space and each other's company.
I sampled the following dishes during my En Su Boca marathon:
Bottomless Chip ($3) - These house-made tortilla chips were flecked with sea salt and came with three salsas: roasted tomato, tomatillo salsa verde, and grilled habanero. The chips tasted freshly fried and were addicting. All three salsa were above average. Note: you get bottomless chips but not bottomless salsa.
Huevos Diablos ($4) – With four to an order, these Mexican deviled eggs were fairly priced. They came topped with chicharones, which added a crispy texture and porky flavor (vegetarians be warned, the menu doesn’t mention the addition of this pork product). The chipotle-infused filling was smooth and smoky. A generous sprinkle of cilantro and a side of pickled onions and jalapenos completed this dish. These were some of the most unique deviled eggs I’ve ever had - I would recommend giving them a try.
Chicken Wings Al Pastor ($9) – These chicken wings were just okay. The addition of citrus, salt, or sugar would have given them the extra flavor they needed. They came with a garnish of pineapple, pickled onions, and a drizzle of lime crema. The sweet pineapple and acidity from the onions added a little kick but didn’t make up for the mediocre wings.
Grilled Street Corn ($6) – This side was one of the best items I sampled, and also the most overpriced. The corn was perfectly cooked and was liberally slathered in lime mayo and topped with a generous dose of cojita cheese and piquin chili. This dish covered all the bases - sweet corn, salty cheese, spicy chili, creamy smooth mayo, and lime for a punch of acidity. It was delicious, but it’s hard to stomach $6 for one ear of corn. Also, do not get this as an appetizer to share. The corn is covered in toppings and difficult to cut in half.
Sweet Potato Fries ($4) – These are your standard sweet potato fries but you get a large plate for $4. It was served with a likable chipotle ketchup and buttermilk crema that tasted a lot like ranch.
Southern fried fish tacos ($3) – The fish tacos were good but the cumin crema on top was a bit too mayonnaisy.
Carne Asado tacos ($3) – I really liked the traditional toppings of raw onions, cilantro, and salsa verde. The meat was on the chewy side but overall it was a good taco.
Slow Roasted Carnitas Burrito ($10) – This giant burrito contained delicious slow roasted pork, rice, beans, jack cheese, avocado, salsa, and sour cream. The citrus carnitas was a pleasant surprise that set it apart from its big name, build-a-burrito competitor.
Bacon Wrapped Big Wiener ($7) – This was a big dog with big flavor. My friend loved it and devoured the whole thing in no time flat.
Housemade Churros with Salted Tequila Caramel ($6) – All I can say about these churros are YUM!! They were worth every bit of the $6 (Melissa, thanks for sharing). These Mexican style donuts were fried to a perfect crisp and had a warm, soft interior. The salted tequila caramel dipping sauce was divine. The churros alone justify a return trip.
En Su Boca is off to a good start. With a few tweaks and a little time under its belt, this tacqueria is on route to being a Richmond mainstay.