U.S. Taco Co. is a new fast-casual restaurant owned by Taco Bell featuring classic American classics reimagined as tacos. After seeing a Reddit post about an LA Times article previewing the restaurant, I knew I had to try it. It opened on the 11th in Huntington Beach, and despite a rather lackluster review from OC Weekly, I went Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, I was too hungry to take photos of the decor. It was a bright, open location perfect for people watching. The prices were roughly $3 to $4 per taco (for most of them). You’ll have to excuse the quality of my photos because, like I mentioned, I was pretty hungry.
They all had interesting names. The most basic taco I tried was the Wanna Get Lei’d, a grilled mahi mahi taco with corn tortilla, Polynesian sauce, slaw, poblano crema, pico de gallo, and cilantro. To be honest, it was nothing special.
Not My First Rodeo is a smoked brisket taco with flour tortilla, molcajete salsa, slaw, pickled onions, and cilantro. It was pretty good, and there was a lot of brisket in it.
My favorite taco is the one featured at the top of this article, the Southern Squealer. Looking at the menu, I quickly knew that this was the taco for me. The Southern Squealer features pulled pork, peach jalapeño BBQ sauce, corn cake, slaw, jalapeño, and cilantro in a flour tortilla. These flavors went well together, forming a delicious taco. I particularly enjoyed the corn cake in the taco. If I eat at U.S. Taco Co. again, I’d likely order the Southern Squealer once more while trying other tacos for the first time as well.
The Papa’s Fritas, potato wedges basically, were also excellent. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and fresh tasting, they were a great side. The fries came with jalapeño ranch as well as ghost chile ketchup dipping sauces. I preferred the jalapeño ranch, but both were good.
U.S. Taco Co.’s biggest problem is its location. It’s a fantastic location near the pier in Huntington Beach. It’s such a fantastic location that it’s just a few doors down from Bruxie, across the street from Zimzala in the Shorebreak Hotel, and a couple minutes walk from Sancho’s Tacos. While I do think I’ll eat here again, after my friend gem and I finished splitting the food I discussed here, I felt satisfied – not stuffed, but definitely not hungry. And then I walked to Sancho’s Tacos, because there was no way I was going home without getting an O.G. or a federale taco! If it was closer to home, I’d definitely drive a few minutes to eat there, but if I’m going to drive a half hour to Huntington Beach for a single meal, I’m more likely to eat at Zimzala or Sancho’s Tacos. However, the addition of another interesting restaurant in the area means that the idea of spending the day at the beach, which would include having multiple meals, sounds even more appealing. An appetizer and drinks from Zimzala, a couple O.G. tacos from Sancho’s Tacos while sitting on the beach, and completing the afternoon at U.S. Taco Co. sounds like an awesome day.
- U.S. Taco Co. is located at 150 5th St., Huntington Beach, CA 92648. http://ustacos.com/
- Zimzala is located at 500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
- Sancho’s Tacos is located at 602 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
- First look at U.S. Taco Co., a Taco Bell side project with lobster, Jenn Harris, LA Times, 8/6/14.
- I Liked Taco Bell’s U.S. Taco Co. … Until I Went There, Ryan Cady, OC Weekly, 8/15/14.