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Taco John's

Taco John'sIn a word: Not that much Mexican going on.

The specs: #0641  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp; official web site, Facebook, Taco John's on Urbanspoon

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JM and Nichole ate the six pack and a pound and JM had a fountain drink.
The bill was $11.
JM gave Taco John's a B+; Nichole gave Taco John's a C+ (see our grading rubric).

SalsasPotato Oles

A reading from the book of Madison A to Z:

1And lo, there was once a time when Sunday afternoon would find Nichole and JM at Taco John's. And there did they consume of the soft shell tacos, 2the potato oles and the fountain drink for JM.

3But alas, the location they frequented disappeared and the weekly West-Mex sabbath with it. 4Verily, they began to eat of more places of the List, and they learned of new places to enjoy.

5So, it came to pass in the land that they were to start the Ts. And since Taco Heaven be blighted from this place, the first was Taco John's. 6It was time for another Six Pack and a Pound. Even as they waited in a booth of particleboard for deliverance, they noticed new things in something that was once so familiar.

7First the salsa bar, which was glorious in their sight. Five different offerings were made. Diced Jalapeños and Hot Sauce were not fit for JM, but Pico, Mild Sauce and, yea, even House Salsa were brought to the table. 8Though Nichole did find the Pico pink and soapy, even though it be made in-house, and of a soapiness not of the leaves and stems of cilantro. 9Also, the morning feast is available at this Taco John's.

10Nichole discovered that the meat was indeed damp unto a sauciness she had not remembered. 11The tacos themselves were as manna to JM, provided so many times in the dim recesses of his memory.

12The eternal seal of any properly held feast at Taco John's is the Ole of Potato. The salty and peppy round is to be deep fried unto a golden brown, 13and these were no exception. Oles shalt taste good whether dipped in Cheese, Mild Sauce, House Salsa or 14on their own. Nichole spared half for the evening repast and there were the Oles broiled next to meat, and green beans from the freezer, and she saw that it was not bad.

15And thou, wilt thou appreciate the sustenance of John the Tacomaker? It is good, yes. But not great. 16Even the fast-food larded JM only bestowed a B+ upon Taco John's, though Nichole believed he would give an A. And yet, those who have ears to hear, let them hear: we judge not lest we be judged, though so few should understand it.

Dim memories are best left dim. 17Verily, at least we were not called to eat of the Tacos of Bell.

Here endeth the reading.

Beef soft taco


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Still better than Laredo's.

The Potato Oles are AWESOME.

The Salsa bar is a great CONCEPT, but the consistent and alarming "soapiness" of some of the salsas scares me off [only thing I can think of is some preservative???, but never experienced that anywhere else].

Everything else is just ok with no real flavor, probably so people can use the Salsa bar to customize their flavors, but can't do that due to the soapiness. Call me nuts, but I much prefer Taco Bell to Taco John's, now if only Taco Bell had a Potato Oles equivalent :)

Thus I readeth the review, and saw that it was good. (Better than Taco John's, though I ate of its bounty many times when I was in high school.)

It's sometimes difficult to not swing through for a meat and potato burrito whenever I spot at Taco John's.

Potato oles. I've never really found anything else on the menu to be worth stopping in. Not that I'm ever in Monona anyway, but I worry if this location closes that Madison will lose potato oles forever! I wish they'd do a freezer marketing with them like TGIFridays...

It's widly accepted that Potato Oles are a superior product. I concur.

This comment is for Ken (if he ever returns to read it! LOL): the 'soapiness' you are encountering is probably the cilantro (herb). That seems to have a really soapy flavor for me too. Still love it though!!!

RE: Amy
Now that you mention it I believe you are correct. Guess that is the only place I have ever been that used that much cilantro in their salsas. :(

A different conversation about that soap flavor and genetics got me curious, so I (can't believe I) called Taco John's to ask about their pico de gallo. They said they chop the vegetables in-house, including cilantro, and add a seasoning packet.

I dunno. Maybe it's the packet; I think the pico tasted less like fresh cilantro than what a cilantrophobe food scientist would come up with in the lab.

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