Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pescado and Pizza on Polk

Nick Fasanella, he of namesake Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk and Broadway, took up a new venture selling pizza next door a few months ago. Both the tacos and Nicky's Pizzeria Rustica are great, cheap food. What I didn't realize until recently was that Nick no longer has connection to his namesake taco shop, bought out by his also-very-apt original partners.

As for the taco shop, luckily they're still going strong and the tacos haven't missed a beat. If you haven't been, try either the Pescado or Carnitas tacos Nick's way. The burritos are okay too, but comparatively they're the ugly stepchild. The interesting thing about the place is certainly the set-up and ambiance, as the taco shop rents its space during the day fr
om nightclub Rouge. Rouge is a vile, disgusting place in the daylight, but it somehow manages to be charming as the taco shop. You'll likely hold your nose the first time in, but it grows on you. Good move keeping the name, though, as after almost four years of good tacos it has some equity.

With Nicky's Pizzeria Rustica, I've only been a few times but I've been impressed. Fasanella took over what was "That's Amore", cleaned the place up significantly, and started serving square-slice, foccacia-style pizza by the slice. What makes it good is the fresh, quality ingredients (homemade mozzarella and sausage, for instance). If there's one thing Fasanella has shown with both places on Polk Street, it's the ability to identify a clear market need and then fill it. For a neighborhood with a ton of options, a taqueria and quality pizza-by-the-slice were both glaring needs.

What this brings up is the need for the ubiquitous "Best Taco" and "Best Pizza" column in this space. I'll do both, with caveats. Tacos, regardless of styles, can be matched up against each other for the most part. Pizza, on the other hand, can really only be compared against its like style. Deep dish, NY-style, thin-crust-artisan, and foccacia-st
yle like Fasanella makes all are individual types.


Raniandraja said...

I usually stay away from gringo taco joints, but Nick's is great I love the pescado tacos both grilled and fried "Nick's way"

The pizza at the new place does not look like anything special, but I have not tried it yet. I like Little Star, Arinelles, Pauline's, and Marcello's is OK and escape from new York is OK. there is no real Chicago thin crust in the city. Too bad.

I like Pancho Villa, great salsas, everything is so fresh. Can Cun has a good burrito mojado, Tacos are OK. The taco trucks (22nd and Bryant?, Harrison st near Best Buy, Shotwell and 16th) have great tacos. The best is in Potrero. I forget the exact streets (somewhere near 19th and Alabama?) but they have a window you can walk up to from the sidewalk and a few tables outside when it is sunny. They have the best tacos. Cabeza, lengua, cesos, carnitas, carne asada, todo. La Corneta is good on Mission near 23rd, it is clean and fresh.

Tacos and Pizza ... great stuff

Raniandraja said...

Also for tacos.. Los Coyotes on mission near geneva has good barbacoa and birria.

La Quinta on mission near 19th has great Birria on Sat and Sun

For Pizza Pizzette 211 was my favorite, but I heard it is not as good now, I'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Nick wasn't bought out -- the ownership of the taqueria is the subject of ongoing litigation.