Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Rate-A-Restaurant #299: Ara's Tacos
Restaurant: Ara's Tacos Mexican Grill
Location: 901 W Glenoaks Blvd (Glendale)
Type of restaurant: Mexican
We stipulated: After one of the Blogger Toddler 2.0's Saturday morning Pee-Wee baseball games, we wanted to grab lunch. I'd been curious about Ara's, which comes from some of the folks behind Zankou Chicken. (It even shares space with a Zankou). I loves me some Zankou chicken, so tacos stuffed with the meat ought to be delicious, right?
They stipulated: From a Glendale News-Press story: "I eat at Chipotlé, I respect what they did, but there's more room in the playing field," founder Steve Iskenderian said." I thought, I could do it better — better food, more authentic food." Iskenderian said he felt confident that because of his experience managing food operations at Zankou locations, he could beat Chipotlé at its own game. Ara's Tacos will use chickens from L.A. Poultry, Zankou's supplier, and beef from Canyon Wholesale Provisions. Like at Zankou, whole fresh chickens will be deboned and marinated at the restaurant, Iskenderian said.
What we ordered: Chicken bowl ($6.25); chicken tacos ($6.25)
High point: Lots of meat.
Low point: The chicken edges were burnt, and there aren't a lot of salsa choices.
Overall impression: Another joint that I really wanted to like. But it's such a copycat of Chipotle that I couldn't give it any points for originality. And that famous Zankou Chicken flavor was marred by the burnt edges. Sorry, but a bummer.
Chance we'll go back: I'll stick with Zankou for chicken, not tacos.