This taco and tequila bar is set in a wooden house not far from me, and I had walked by several times thinking I should try it some day. That day came: its location made it the spot for a cosy drink and dinner before a show at the Walker. And, unsurprisingly, its food was less than stellar. But it offered fascinating ethnographic insight into the dining habits of the Upper Midwestern white family on a Friday night.
The first room we entered had a vast, square table at which about twenty people seemed to be seated. They looked like different generations of an extended family, sulking, smiling, and sampling guacamole out of giant mortars. Once my friend and I had recovered from the shock of being served by white waiters in a Mexican restaurant, we put in our orders for margaritas and tacos. Surely we wanted some guacamole to start with? asked our waiter, reminding us to honor a sacred rule of Midwestern Mexican dining. Fine. It came at the right time to drink with, even if it was salty and spiked with bottled lemon juice. The house margaritas were thankfully excellent, and made with good silver tequila.
The tacos: pork with salsa verde, bad; barbacoa, pretty good. I also got a tamale with chicken – decent. All of the food was sadly lukewarm. Nico’s might consider investing in those wide, thin skillets that New York taquerias used to get their food out nice and hot. But I might be sad to see it lose its cultural specificity.