Cafe Poca Cosa
C- (the only thing that saves them is the place is beautiful)
2 out of 5 stars
It was a Saturday date night when we found ourselves welcomed to the colorful flair and lively ambiance of downtown Tucson’s Cafe Poca Cosa before walking over to the Rialto to catch Kathleen Madigan’s comedy show (which was hi-freakin’-larious). Cafe Poca Cosa has been a much talked about dining destination in Tucson for many years and I wanted to see what the hype was about. They describe themselves as A) featuring “Mexican cuisine” in a B) upscale and comfortable bistro setting. I agree with B, but I have a problem with the use of the word “cuisine” to describe my dinner.
Seated at a cozy table for two, things started well, with a great waitress and a promising menu chalked on a board beside us. The server explained that the menu of authentic Mexican fare changes daily so as to keep everyone on their toes. Things were looking promising. And then we ordered, and then the stuff started to come to the table.
We can concede that the debate over what is “good” salsa is a battle royal around a subject that we Tucsonans aren’t ever going to come to a consensus on as far as what is good, bad, or the best. So even though ours tasted largely like ketchup was the key ingredient, we can choke, I mean chock that up to a difference of individual preference. What no one can debate is the cold, stale, greasy corn chips brought to your table….wait for it……not once but twice, as being a….wondering what the Spanish term for faux pas is..well whatever it is insert it here along side of the word yuck. We then ordered a couple of their house specialty top shelf margaritas. As soon as I had my first sip of my warm at the top drink, I began to also taste the resonant note that would be played throughout our meal which was, the cooks are not tasting their food and the bartenders are phoning in the drinks. I mean Really? You couldn’t be bothered to lightly shake the drink before you poured it, so it would be cold? You’re that busy? And as you create a new menu “on the fly every day and sometimes twice a day,” you are too busy to taste the food?
We ordered a three part chef’s choice tasting for my wife and their version of pulled pork and slaw (I’ve been on a pork run lately) for myself. All of the food was just acceptable, underwhelming in flavor, clearly being held too long as the mole chicken on my wife’s plate was slightly mealy. All of the plates are overwhelmed by masses of undressed salad greens, and accompanied by a superfluous core of pineapple stalk, melon, and an abundance of tasteless “handmade” corn tortillas. In other words, when you moved all of the pomp and circumstance aside, what you were left with was stale chips, thoughtlessly prepared drinks, and food that was anything but inspiring.
I’m sorry to say that we have to give them an overall 2. I cannot imagine that so many of the details around the flavors and the texture of the food, on so many levels, could be a fluke. Unfortunately for them great service and atmosphere is the second thing we look for when we go out to eat. The first is taste. No matter the price, all we ask is that you taste your own food and drink your own drinks every now and then. In our opinion, it’s time for Poca Cosa to pick up a fork.
You can find them at http://cafepocacosatucson.com. Reservations are advised.
2 out of 5 stars.
Fairly expensive when you consider the end results. We’ll give them another six months and see if it gets any better.