There are nearly a dozen taco options on Pinche Taqueria's concise Mexican-American menu. Despite our expectations for more true-to-form Mexican fare, stemming from Pinche's New York locations and their strict adherence to those traditions, Stephanie Lee, owner of the Wilton Manors outpost, told us that the New York menu wasn't quite working here. Elements of those tacos, which ought to have been the highlight of a restaurant that dubs itself taco-centric, fell short in small ways that left us disappointed. The fish in the Baja-style tacos tasted a bit past its prime. The enticing lamb tacos, punchy thanks to an herby mint, cucumber and cilantro sauce, lost us with crumbly, dry meat that fell out of the store-bought shell with each bite.
Lee recently brought in Ron Kerr, owner of Bite Gastrotruck and Bite Catering, to revamp the menu into something more Tex-Mex. Now, she boasted, the restaurant offers a cheeseburger taco and fajitas, but still has elote, the grilled corn snack sold on streets across Mexico. Even if the tacos were a miss it seems to team behind Pinche is finding a way to fit into the neighborhood. On one visit a small patio was filled with guests, mostly men, drinking and chatting. One even shouted "bitch!" in a joking tone when he found out a friend had picked up the dinner tab. Some items here, particularly the slow-braised proteins sung. We couldn't get enough of the Brisket Rancheros, featuring tender meat rubbed with ancho chili, garlic and cumin slow cooked in beef stock and Coca-Cola.
Yet what we enjoyed most here was the people watching and the lively crowd. A flat-screen television toward the back of the restaurant played a slideshow of Pinche's Cinco de Mayo celebration that made it obvious this is a place you come for the crowd and the margaritas with house made sour mix.
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