Large portions, freshness reign at Garcia’s Taco and Grill

Location of Garcia’s Taco and Grill
Location of Garcia’s Taco and Grill

We feel confident in saying the following about Garcia’s Taco and Grill:

Come hungry.

Quantity isn’t the only way to rate a restaurant; it’s not even the best. But a lot of diners like bang for their buck, and Garcia’s certainly provides it. Even if you don’t order the Dougie.

Ah, the Dougie ($11.99 with side dishes, $9.99 without). How do we describe you?

Big. Really, really big. The extra large tortilla was filled with a choice of pork, beef or chicken and a mixture of bacon, rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and shredded cheese. Those without hands the size of baseball gloves may opt to use knife and fork for this one, and go ahead and plan on asking for a takeout box. In addition to the quantity, the Dougie also had a lot of flavor.

The Garcia Critter Sampler ($9.99) appetizer was interesting for more than just its unusual name. Grilled chicken, pork, beef or shrimp (choice of three) came wrapped and deep fried in homemade, bite-sized tortillas, with salsa and tartar dipping sauces on the side. We found the smoky, tangy chicken to be the most flavorful of our choices, but we liked the shrimp, too, which were plump and moist and featured a little bit of red sauce to add zip. The pork was in most need of the dipping sauces.

All of Garcia’s tacos are served with soft tortillas, although crunchy corn shells can be substituted for all except the Dougie.

Another taco option is El Gallo Frito (1 taco, $6.99; 2, $7.99), a soft taco stuffed with the delicious grilled chicken and topped with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. A nice type of sweet barbecue sauce embellished the taco at the bottom; a creamy, ranch-style dressing was drizzled on top. At about the size of a burrito, the taco was a good, filling lunch.

The fish in the La Marina ($6.99, $7.99) taco didn’t have a very distinctive flavor, but was helped by sauce that seemed a combination of onions and salad dressing along with the lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Just OK.

El Classico ($5.99, $6.99), as you might expect from the name, starred ground beef mixed well with taco seasoning. It was a little messy, but very meaty. This is a taco-lover’s taco.

An overall observation: It seemed the place used the same mix of seasoning on nearly everything. It’s a good mix, but variety is nice, too.

Just to see what else this eatery has to offer, we tried the Garcia burger ($7.99). We aren’t often surprised by a burger, but this was an exception. The enormous slab of ground beef — more than an inch thick — came covered with beef gravy, queso sauce, guacamole, grilled jalapeñ os and grilled onions, and served between two slices of jalapeñ o bread. Obviously, there a lot of flavor and moisture in this sandwich, so much of the latter that, unless clad in a poncho, don’t even think of trying to eat it with your hands.

At lunch, the waitress let us know that the meals would take a little time (in our case 25 minutes) because nothing is prepared before an order reaches the kitchen. That’s good news for those who want freshness, but not for those on a tight lunch schedule.