qdoba mexican grill

Here's what Julia and Julio look like in front of a strip mall.

Here’s what Julia and Julio look like in front of a strip mall.

When you’re out in the suburbs, it’s pretty tough to find an authentic Latin taco joint. So, on a recent trip west of Chicago, I threw in the towel and ate at a Qdoba. To the taco enthusiast, this may seem lame, and it is. But, it is a “Mexican” restaurant serving tacos, so it qualifies itself as a stop on the taco tour.

Qdoba is one of those Fresh Mex restaurants. With over 600 locations, chances are there’s one located near you. Other fast casual dining competition includes Chipotle, Panchero’s (the best in this group), Baja Fresh and Moe’s Southwestern Grill. I’m not a big fan of the Mexican chain food cooked by White people, but I had to give it a try.

I tried the steak, chicken and pulled pork tacos. The first nice thing is the tortilla. They press it right in front of you when you order. Second, you get to pick what kind of toppings to put on your taco. They have a handful of salsas and ingredients from which to choose. But, I don’t like the fact that the food is not made-to-order. They cook all of their meat ahead of time and you just get a scoup from the chafing dish, a la high school lunch.

The tacos are aiight. The steak tastes like it’s on a salad buffet. The carnitas, or as they call it, pork, is a little stringy. I think they pulled their pork a little too much. The chicken is a little dry and bland. The meat is high quality, but you can’t taste any grill flavor or seasoning. They rely too much on their toppings and cafeteria quickness and need to focus more on the meat (right, dudes?).

In a hurry, or in the unfortunate event of me being in a terrible suburb, I would try them again. I’d rather stay in a city, though, and have the authentic thing.

MMMM, suburbs.

MMMM, suburbs.

Honestly, this place is about as bland as this post…..

Here’s what I got:

  • Location:  7343 W. Lake St., River Forest, IL (Western Chicago Suburb)
  • Tourists:  Josh, Julia, Julio
  • Tacos sampled:  steak, chicken, pulled pork (also have pulled beef and ground beef)
  • Toppings:  various
  • Salsa:  pico de gallo, roasted chile corn, salsa verde, salsa roja, habanero, mango, hot sauce
  • Extras:  none
  • Tortillas:  soft flour or crunchy corn
  • Atmosphere:  chain, suburbs, gringo-y, unauthentic, suburbs
  • Price:  $2.50/taco or $5.99-$6.49/3 tacos (no mix and match)
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