The year 2020 has been on Santa’s naughty list since the very beginning of the new year. I recently just joined the list, too. The NAUTI list that is! I am happy to say that I just checked off another Pittsburgh taco spot from my list of 8 new places to try. So, let’s see if these tacos turned out to be naughty or nice…
With the pandemic going on, I should now be listing what is available for pick-up and delivery, in addition to price ranges at the bottom. However, this data varies too much with the constant changes in lock down orders. Because of this, I will just make sure to post the links to the restaurants within each blog, like I usually do. With the current lock down in place, we have to support our Pittsburgh Tacos as much as we can!
Our taco spots have an additional layer of stress because many tacos are prepared with warm corn shells or crispy hard shells and immediately layered with hot fillings and chilled garnishes. Tacos do not usually do well with a long transport. For this reason, we need to find ways to keep our tacos as fresh as possible from our own kitchen counters, dinner tables, behind the wheel (of a parked car, I hope!), and wherever else we may be munching on some tacos.
My frisbee friend, Kevin, joined me in splitting tacos after I finished a shift at the hospital. Nauti tacos come in sets of two per order so a classic taco swap was needed. Nauti Taco is also a convenient spot for Kevin as he lives close by to Sewickley.
We ordered the tacos online. Tacos were listed first on the menu (as they should always be) and included braised short rib, spiced Angus beef, beer battered Cod, Shrimp Tempura, shredded pork, spicy Spanish sausage, two differently prepared smoked chicken options, grilled flat iron steak, battered avocado, and maple fired roasted sweet potato. There were not that many nauti seafood tacos, but the menu also consisted of poke with fresh Ahi Tuna and a Shrimp Tempura on coconut slaw dish.
For our classic taco swap, we ordered the Korean tacos with braised short ribs and the Alabama Slamma with smoked chicken. Both the Korean and smoked chicken tacos were our top two choices, individually, when we voted. I chose the Chick Next Door with smoked chicken, elote, avocado smash, and salsa verde while Kevin chose the Alabama Slamma with smoked chicken, Alabama White Sauce, pickled cucumbers, fried onions, and bacon blanket. When I saw “bacon blanket”, I was easily persuaded to pick the Alabama Slamma for our second taco pair. All tacos were additionally dressed with cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge. I was not sure if 3 taco orders would be needed, so we decided to place an order for chips and queso instead.
We left for tacos right after we ordered. This was my first visit to the main drag in Sewickley and boy, was it a cute little stretch of shops, restaurants, pubs, and even an ice-cream parlor.
Once back at Kevin’s house with the tacos, we set up shop. Chips were dumped from the bag and onto a plate surrounding the queso blanco. Tacos were taken from the carton and carefully arranged on plates.
We tried the Alabama Slamma tacos first. This taco was creamy and heavy. I could definitely taste the bacon even though I could not see it. The bacon added some saltiness to this taco. I really liked the idea of fried onions, but they needed to be a little crispier to add some crunch. This may have been a topping that would have benefited from being separated and added to taco once at home to preserve crispiness. I would have also liked more cilantro and cucumbers on the taco. I would rank this taco a 2/5 for not having a well-rounded taco profile.
The next taco we tried was the Korean braised short rib taco. I immediately enjoyed this taco. I was drawn to the Gochujang sauce which had an initial heat kick and finished a tad sweet. The sauce had a thick, glaze-like consistency. Throwing in some sesame seeds would have been a nice touch. This taco was full of flavor too from the meat. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this taco. I would rank it a 3/5, as I was glad I ate this taco.
Kevin and I differed in which taco we preferred. Kevin leaned toward the Alabama Slamma, while I favored the Korean taco. Kevin liked the Alabama white creamy sauce because he thought it was not too overpowering. Overall, Kevin could see these tacos as more of a late night snacking tacos after a night of some beers.
So, were these tacos naughty or nice? My answer is naughty because they have me wanting to come back for more! I want to try the Chick Next Door, Carnitas, and the Beach Bum with maple fired roasted sweet potato. If maple fired sweet potato or the Chick Next Door do not sound naughty to you, then I don’t know what does!
Price: $10-12 per two of the same tacos.