3309 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92715
For coupon, visit OC Mex Food
I’ve been meaning to go down to Taleo for a while now. I’ve heard so many good things about it. I was in the mood for good Mexican food the other day so I finally decided to go and try it.
I went down to Taleo as a party of four. The restaurant was fairly empty at around 6:15 on a Tuesday evening. For some reason though, they decided to seat us at the one table that seemed to be getting all of the sunlight through the windows. The sun was shining so brightly on to our table that we all had to wear sunglasses indoors until the sun set further.
We looked over the menu and decided to order the Vegetarian Queso Fundido ($10.00) as an appetizer. They brought it out after a while with a basket of warm chips and two different kinds of salsa. One of the salsas was mild, the other was spicy. The Queso Fundido was pretty good, but unlike any queso fundido I have had before. This was more like a spinach mushroom dip made with béchamel sauce.
The waitress came back to take our order. J decided to get the Carnitas Plate ($21.00), R ordered the Enchilada Suizas ($15.00), my wife ordered the Fish Sandwich ($13.00) and I finally decided to get the Carne Asada plate ($21.00). At the last minute I also decided to order another appetizer called Tuna Tostar ($15.00).
We waited for a long time and eventually ran out of chips while eating the salsa and fundido. We wanted to ask for more chips but the waitress was nowhere to be found. After a what seemed like forever the waitress finally walked by our table. I flagged her down and requested more chips. “Right away,” she said. She lied. It took a really long time before she came back with any chips. I’m guessing 10-15 minutes. Right after she finally brought the chips, the Tuna Tostar arrived.
The Tuna Tostar was described as diced sushi-grade tuna tossed in cilantro wasabi soy dressing, topped with micro-greens and served on ciabatta toast or romaine hearts spread with avocado-wasabi. For some reason I was expecting smaller pieces of toast. On the plate were four very long pieces of toast topped with the ingredients above. It was pretty good, but absolutely Asian. Since Taleo is a Mexican restaurant, I was hoping they would do something with this dish to “Mexicanize” it, but they didn’t.
After another long wait, our food arrived. My carne asada plate was not what I expected. I was thinking that I was going to get some thin flat steaks as is usual for carne asada. Instead I got two thick steaks. I cut into one of the steaks and took a bite. It was pretty good. It tasted more like just a steak though, and less like marinated carne asada. The beans that were served with my meal tasted more like BBQ pork and beans than Mexican style beans. This would have been good if I was at a BBQ. Throw in some corn on the cob and you've got a party.
J’s carnitas was a huge chunk or glistening pork on her plate. She enjoyed her carnitas very much and said that they had a slight sweetness to them. I usually don’t like sweetness in my carnitas, but they looked so good, I wanted to try them anyway. I stole a bite from her plate. They were sweet, but they were also very good. They were very tender and very flavorful. I would probably order this next time if I return.
R liked his Enchiladas ok but didn’t seem to think they were anything special. He didn't have much to say about them.
My wife was amazed at the amount of coleslaw that came on her fish sandwich. She scraped most of it off and took a bite. She said that the fish in her sandwich was so overly fishy tasting that it made her eyes water. It was almost if the fish was rotten. She couldn’t bring herself to take another bite. When the waitress came by after our meal, she saw that my wife had only taken one small bite and asked if she wanted a box. My wife just replied with a “no” and the waitress took the dish away. I think a good waitress would have asked if there was something wrong with the meal. We probably should have said something, but we didn't.
As most of you know, I really love Tres Leches cake. I saw it on the dessert menu and couldn’t resist ordering it ($8.00). It arrived at our table beautifully presented. The four of us took a bite. I liked the cake, because I pretty much like any Tres Leches cake, but it was nowhere near as good as the Tres Leches at Gabbi’s. No one else seemed to be very impressed with it either. J said that the Tres Leches cake from Fresh & Easy was better.
Overall, the food at Taleo was pretty good, but not as good as I expected. The service also left something to be desired. Anytime we would ask for something, i.e. more chips, more water etc., it would take forever for them to bring it. I might go to Taleo again if someone was offering to take me, or if I had a really good coupon, but I think I’ll stick to Gabbi’s for upscale Mexican food.