1935 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Pure Tacos opened this past week, a transplant from the original in Ocean City, New Jersey. Perhaps this cuts it for tacos "down the shore" but it is way off the mark compared to all of its Philly competition.
All of their food is gluten free, which is great if you are a glute, but unfortunately for them, I think all of the flavor must have been stored in the gluten they got rid of. They offer two menus, one "standard" and one "premium." I was happy to see my favorite authentic tacos on the standard menu, such as chicken-bacon-ranch and cheeseburger.
They have a Chipotle-esq assembly line. They are missing the wide selection of fresh ingredients that the chain burrito joints offer. They DO have lettuce though, in case you want yours over a salad. They will put it over lettuce. Just lettuce.
I decided to try a side of their guacamole and "naranja" hot salsa which claimed to contain peaches, habanero peppers, green onions, garlic, cider vinegar. I tasted none of these. In fact, it wasn't even hot. The guac had zero salt in it, and no citrus. It was similar to the kind you can buy pre-made at the grocery store. Not good in the least. I was very disappointed in these two sides.
I tried two gourmet tacos and two standards. On the left is the BBQ pulled pork, which comes with braised pork shoulder, barbecue sauce, sour cream and corn salsa. I was really sad they skimped on the corn. Oh wait, did I say skimped? I meant went way overboard with the corn. On the right was the chipotle beef brisket with spiced braised beef, pickled jalapenos, hand picked cilantro, diced onion, citrus guacamole and choice of salsa. These tacos tasted like nothing. Honestly, I was so disappointed (and mad that I just spent $20 on four tacos, a small guac and salsa and no drink), that I barely wanted to try the standards. Also, the shells were tough to get over. They were a cross between hard corn tortillas, and stale soft corn tortillas. It was incredibly strange.
The 'citrus guacamole' was terribly smooth here, and just b-a-d.
On to the standards. I decided to order two lettuce tacos.
Oh wait, never mind, there is chicken-bacon-ranch hidden under that head of iceberg lettuce. Guess what? It was also really bad.
I would be dumbfounded if it turned out that the ground beef was actually cooked with a single spice. It was among the most bland ground beef I have ever eaten. Maybe glutes hate flavor?
Also, it was greasy as hell. Look at that meat poolie.
All in all, I would never go back to Pure Tacos. To be quite honest, I left Pure Tacos without taking more than a bite of each item and went directly to Shake Shack. I do have good news, however, as the line at Shake Shack is way less than it was for the first couple weeks, and a Shake Stack only took about 10 minutes to be in my stomach from the time I arrived there. So that's something, right?