Tacos Punta Cabras, Surf Tacos in Santa Monica

I'd been wanting to try these tacos since they opened, but I pretty much left for my life in Mexico about a month after they opened. I continued to read the rave reviews and it stayed at the top of my 'to try' list until this last visit, when I finally made it there.

I must preface my review by saying that the Taco Maven is not a hater and it causes her great stress to have to post a somewhat negative review on a place that Yelp gives 4.5 stars. But I also feel that I have to be truthful about my experience.

It was just one day and a few tacos. People have off days... clearly for the most part these guys put out a good product that people love, but I did not love this place, the service, or the tacos.

Granted we were the first ones there, at 11 a.m., on a weekday. Everybody looked and acted hungover, like they couldn't be bothered to explain how you have to fill out your own form to order tacos. No explanation, just two pieces of paper handed to us. Maybe they provided the crappy tiny lead pencil. Maybe they didn't.


So we filled them out. A few people came in five minutes after us and got their tacos right away. We waited what seemed like an eternity for a few tacos in a not crowded place. When we finally got our tacos, they were mostly cold and soggy. The fish taco was just weak all around... soggy, bland, batter, no zing. The tortilla was good, the salsas were pretty typical - red/green in a mild/med/hot division. VERY non-plussed.

I was so happy before the food came.
Cauliflower Ceviche - So pretty but no Zing

I also ordered the cauliflower ceviche tostada. It was raw in keeping with the ceviche concept of raw fish with a strong flavor of vinegar, but not much else. It could have used some olive oil, garlic, seasoning. The tostada itself was the typical store bought affair, and had a mealy texture. I was foolishly hoping the cauliflower would be caramelized but it was 'ceviche' after all.

The shrimp taco was much better than the fish in that it was warmer and a bit more toward crispy, instead of soggy. But it lacked flavor. These guys need to take another trip to Baja where I assume they've been since they named their place after a surf point in Ensenada. At first I had trouble remembering the name... Goat Point tacos? But it's a fish only place? Hmmmmmm.....

The best taco I ate that day was the tofu taco. It was delicious. Deep fried in the batter. Hot, crispy. It worked for me though I don't really love tofu or tofu tacos. Toward the end of our visit, one of the managers made an effort to be cordial but it was too little too late. Until that point, every request we made was met with a suppressed sigh and a slight eye roll.

At one point, one of the cooks came out to the front counter area and screamed out a few song lyrics and then walked back to the kitchen. It was a bizarre experience all around.

I'm going to chalk it up to young hipsters with a hangover who got in a little late that day and didn't have time to get the oil up to temperature. Nor did they find the motivation to be nice to a couple of people that were too old (40's) to fit into their uber carelessly hip matrix.

PS. They get high marks for hip with regard to decor (especially the Lucha Libre bottle-opener) but their off-white bench cushions were smudged and dirty looking.

Taco Maven out.