Rusty Taco vs. Fuzzy's Taco: The Fish Taco Foofaraw

Categories: Toque to Toque
Thumbnail image for fishtacoblog.jpg

Baja is filled with great valleys, big sand and surf, rich volcanic soil, and even richer cuisine. It's also the home of Tecate beer and the ever popular fish taco.

Although you can find what might be defined loosely as a fish taco throughout the pescado-loving world, and certainly in our fair city, the good people that brought us the dish might take exception with the way it's translated.

From my travels, I would define a baja fish taco as a fresh tortilla, preferably house-made, a grilled or fried shard of fish tossed with red cabbage, onion and cilantro, and doused in a chile-infused mayo-based sauce.

In our portion of the culinary universe, we enjoy our Tex-Mex with reckless abandon. We often dismiss what is fondly referred to in these parts as Mex-Mex. The expertly roasted meats, flavor-rich sopes, and the intensely concocted moles are rarely translated with the care and love as is done by its indigenous people.

What we lack in more authentic Mexican cuisine we make up in our saucy enchiladas and deep-fried chimichangas. But the Baja-style of fish tacos is simple to reproduce and easily prepared locally with the proper attention to quality ingredients. Fresh tortilla, quality fish grilled or fried and a spicy crema. So simple, so elusive.

Today we explore the fish taco and attempt cut through the hype about authenticity. Are we getting the real goods at home or will we simply need to make our summer vacation plans around a decent taco stand?

Enter today's Toque combatants: Rusty Taco versus Fuzzy's Taco in the Fish Taco Foofaraw.

Thumbnail image for fuzzystacoblog.jpg
Fuzzy's Taco
In seeking today's Toque challenge I wanted to take a peek at a few new entries in the taco-loving market. This explosive dining option has been increasing with fervor and still seems to be gaining momentum.

Earlier this week I ducked into Rusty Taco. The name might make you giggle, but comes from the owner, Rusty Fenton who's roots are deep in the Tex-Mex market, a co-founder of the Uncle Julios' empire.

For less than five bucks at Rusty Taco, you can get a taco and a beer and lounge on the abundant patio facing Greenville Avenue while listening to one of the better stocked old-school jukeboxes in town.

I found my seat at the bar after ordering a Shiner and both fried and grilled fish tacos. Sitting at the bar enables you to see the tacos being assembled. The staff is quick and efficient, contrary to early claims of slow-to-no service that plagued the restaurant's opening weeks.

Within minutes I had a few baskets of tacos, and it took little time to execute my attack. A few bites the grilled taco was no more. A few bites more the fried taco vanished.

The grilled tacos seemed to lack much in the way of flavor, as there wasn't much fish to grasp a taste. But the fried fish had more in the way of texture and the sabor I was seeking. The fish was crisp and had a delicate, sweet fish flavor. For the health conscience, there's not much in the way of fried that the abundance of crunchy red cabbage didn't displace.

All the ingredients were there, and the stars were properly aligned making Rusty's a fine example of the Baja fish taco. Including the house-made torts I craved.

Next stop, Fuzzy's.

Fuzzy's Tacos is a phenom perpetuated at many college campuses. Almost all Fuzzy's are near a campus, including the Richardson location, a skip away from UTD.

As you walk into a Fuzzy's, you'll find all the trappings of a college dive, including the banners and shirts of the local teams. And then there is the large sign of a fish that screams, 'Eat Me.' Happy to oblige.

It was late for a lunch, almost 3:30, and there was a small line at Fuzzy's and the restaurant was half-filled with students tapping away at their iPhones while devouring chips and one of the many taco combinations Fuzzy's offers.

Again, I ordered the fried and grilled fish. I sat waiting a few minutes for my late lunch in happy anticipation of the heavily hyped Fuzzy taco. My first.

Upon arrival, I was astounded by the abundance of lettuce. Nearly half head of shredded iceburg. No cilantro. No onion. No spicy sauce, just a thin mayo. The grilled fish was the most disappointing. More like minced whitefish tossed on a flat top to give it color, but otherwise indistinguishable. Sad.

The fried fish had more promise, and was billed as a tempura fish taco. I had visions of a lovingly battered and fried fish lazily perched, begging me to take a bite. Instead it was a nearly cold, wet crust that even the Gorton's fisherman would wish to avoid.

From the world of advertising we learn to sell the sizzle not the steak; same when it comes to tacos. But it's nice to know that we do not necessarily need to keep our passports at the ready for a Los Cabos holiday when all we really want is a nice hot basket of freshly made tacos and a cold, cheap beer.

For their use of fresh ingredients including deliciously prepared tortillas and a crazy spicy chipotle crema, we award this weeks Toque to Toque bragging rights and all the pageantry that goes with the title to Rusty Taco. Well played my friend.

Rusty Taco
4802 Greenville Ave.
214-613-0508
http://www.therustytaco.com/

Fuzzy's Taco Shop
561 W. Campbell Rd.,
Richardson
972-907-8226
http://www.fuzzystacoshop.com/

Location Info

Venue

Map

Fuzzy's Taco Shop

510 E. Abram St., Arlington, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
Ronsoftail
Ronsoftail

i have never been impressed with Fuzzy's on Campbell. Underdressed tacos with no condiments available. Never again. Lifes too short to eat bad tacos. Friendly's still rules.

WhirledNews
WhirledNews

Fuzzy's is much better than Rusty, but Taco Joint blows them both out of the water.

Heath
Heath

I've eaten at Fuzzy's in Arlington, on Race Street in Fort Worth and at the TCU location. TCU store was my first and I immediately feel in love. I moved to Dallas two years ago from Fort Worth and have always missed Fuzzy's. Needless to say, I was thrilled at the prospect of something similar opening in Dallas. Rusty Taco? Fuzzy Taco? Similar in name, but Rusty seriously let down when I was served two tiny, flavorless, soggy fish sticks that made up my fried fish tacos. And I've been known to eat a fish stick with a smile on my face. I guess it comes down to preference and what day you go. Just excited to see some new offerings around. Tired of fish? Head over to Raisin' Cane for some awesome chicken strips. I'll stay there until the debate dies down over fish tacos. :)

Scott T Richards
Scott T Richards

Give me Fuzzys any day over Rusty taco. My favorite Fuzzys is is NRH. That fuzzys has he best customer service......All fuzzys have great food but for a awesome experience go to NRH>>

joe matthews
joe matthews

in my openion, fuzzy's taco shops cannot be beat. joe m

eisa
eisa

there is noquestion it would be rsty taco...the fuzzy taco is fast food tastes like fast food.when you look at the menu it reads like fast food.. the rsty taco looks like a street tacos,the cooks are mexican,thwe food tastes real,not totally pre made

John Caravella
John Caravella

I went to Rustys this weekend and had a great time and the food was good. I didn't have fish tacos but will next time. I prefer the more authentic Mexican places in Oak Cliff but this was different and good and close.

john
john

Fuck Rusty Taco. Gringos can eat there, if I want REAL tacos there are far better options.

diego
diego

Always enjoy a good taco of the aquatic nature. I'll continue my culinary path that you have paved. Gracias Mi Amigo!!!

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Had lunch at Rusty's the other day. It was prime time and parking was a little bit of a problem. Ordering and service were very quick despite the crowd. I had the grilled fish and rajas tacos. They say the tortillas are handmade but they sure seemed manufactured. Not only was there no charring, the tortillas were stone cold, not surprising since they were piled high at the preparation table. They were not heated up on the grill as is the case at many taquerias.

The fish was a little tasteless but at least it was in one piece. The rajas were fine. The red and green sauces were substandard but the habanero was interesting.

I watched them try to cook at least 10 pounds of marinated meat pieces on the grill. Way too much, resulting in poached meat.

Guacamole is a good value for 3.00 but mine had that acidic taste I usually associate with sitting in the fridge for too long. Pico de gallo was average and could have used a lot more serrano.

Ok for the money, but wouldn't plan on going there other than to hang out and drink beer.

cbs
cbs

Fuzzy's = breakfast all day! + their green chile sauce rocks

Rusty's (my 2 experiences)= out of everything and no late b-fast.

I just don't get the praise of Rusty's, but to each their own. I also still challenge the homemade tortillas as I watched mine come from a plastic bag. It was warmed on the grill (the bag could have held tortillas made their but that would seem odd).

lolia
lolia

A restaurant doesn't have to actually make the tortillas at their restaurant to be homemade. They get them fresh and homemade everyday from a vendor down the street. As for the late breakfast, 11am and 12p on the wknds is late enough.

Callie
Callie

Fuzzy's definitely differs by location. The Arlington location at Abrams is the best-- hands down.

Friendly service, tickets ready in mere minutes and delicious, hot food. Veggie tacos, tempura fish sandwich and guacamole shine.

Dan
Dan

Never had a bad experience at Fuzzy's. Every taco has had the same ingredients at each location I've ate at. If you thought something was wrong, they are always more than helpful correcting any mistake!

Jamie
Jamie

2 bills for a taco is pretty good if there are SMU chicks there. Where do I sign up I had fish tacos at taco y mas and they smelled like rotted puss. I will give tjese a try.

Kimber
Kimber

Those tacos better be fresh! Gags me to think of a soggy cold fish taco. They do sound pretty good, if fresh and hot!

Todd
Todd

I haven't been inerested in "fish tacos", just doesn't seem right somehow! Tacos should be beef or chicken with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. However you do make them sound tempting! Will try Rusty's.

Coleman
Coleman

the lines aren't that bad at Rusty Taco, because they get you through pretty fast...the problem with Rusty Taco is the clientele is unbelievably SMU-specific. Went there on a saturday and it felt like sunday after a Baptist church let out.

Food's pretty good, though...I really enjoy the roja veggie taco

Shaner
Shaner

Thumbs up on Haltom City/Race St. location.VERY busy during lunch with downtown folk...But the food is always top notch.

warden62
warden62

I agree with the inconsistency from location to location at Fuzzy's. I've tried 3 different locations: Fort Worth (Berry Street by TCU), Denton, and Haltom City.

The one in Denton is pretty terrible.

I would rate the one in Haltom City as pretty awesome food prep wise, but still working out kinks service-wise.

The one by TCU is far and above the best in my opinion. The atmosphere is especially great, seeing all the young Christian students come in completely drunk or on the way to getting drunk.

Russell
Russell

Chad, I also lived in San Diego, and you are in for a big let-down. Rusty's isn't even close to Rubio's. Baja Fresh wasn't either for that matter. You will be thoroughly unimpressed.

Shaner
Shaner

Fuzzys is greatness. Unfortunately, consistency is a problem at some locations. I wish they would get that worked out.

There should have been cilantro, and the sauce is called the garlic sauce. You made no mention of the feta on the taco(cheese usually a no-no when it comes to fish tacos) i hope they didnt leave that off too. And if its cold, send it back.

Give it another shot.

Chad Shieber
Chad Shieber

I will check out your Rusty taco but the name makes me a bit sick. I am from San Diego and I gotta compare this to the early pioneer Rubio's. I miss my baja tacos.

Carla
Carla

In my experience the quality of Fuzzy's tacos varies from location to location. I've never left disappointed from the location in Haltom City. The fact that you said there was no cilantro on yours makes me raise my eyebrow because it's certainly always been in my fish tacos at Fuzzy's.

Sarah
Sarah

Ditto.  Race Street location in Haltom is the best around the Arlington/ Fort Worth area for sure!  Totally addicted. :D

karen
karen

I never heard of Fuzzy's but have seen Rustus and staued away because of the bad reports of long lines. Sounds like they calmed down! Count me in for some new fangled tacos. The sauce sounds yummy.

Gipson
Gipson

Sounds like the rep at Rusty's might be primed for a turn-around. Kim Pierce over at EATS had some nice things to say about it as well.

Good to hear. The early reviews were negative as all get out.

Jose Ralat Maldonado
Jose Ralat Maldonado

Fuzzy's fish tacos are tasteless and the tortillas used crack and fall apart when folded. Sad, indeed. But their nachos! O, their nachos. I can't praise them enough.

carrots are great
carrots are great

Perfect fish taco weather! Curious if the line was crazy at Rusty's? I've heard there can be quite the wait.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...