500 Tacos: Wahoo’s Fish Taco

 
 
A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
 
Wahoo’s Fish Taco
1722 S. Congress Ave. (map), 512-358-6600, www.wahoos.com. Also at 509 Rio Grande St., 512-476-3474
Hours: 11am-9pm Mon-Thu; 11am-10pm Fri-Sat; noon-9pm Sun
 
UPDATE: Wahoo's Fish Taco has closed
 
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.07.15
 
On the big Wahoo’s board, location is everything, and most of those locations are in California. It’s expanded ever eastward, to Colorado and Texas, to Nevada and Nebraska, and halfway around the world east, to Japan. Wahoo’s in Japan is almost as hard to imagine as Wahoo’s in Austin, notorious for punishing anybody from out of town trying to do the food we claim as our own. Give Wahoo’s points for bravery, for taking over the cherished old South Congress home of Texas French Bread and hanging on.
 
 
The taco: Fish tacos, grilled and blackened
Pointless to hit Wahoo’s without paying equal attention to grilled and blackened fish tacos. They start with wahoo, I heard the cashier say, a speedy silver game fish deserving of a more delicate fate. One taco carries tan grill marks across flesh resembling a chicken tender in color, texture and taste. Blackened, the fish pulls in enough powdery Cajun-ish spice to mask whatever trace of fish remained. Both are garnished with cabbage in a light citrus dressing and a trace of cheese. Fish tacos for a market far from the sea. ($9.49 for two with black beans and brown rice; $2.99 a la carte)
 
 
 If pigs could swim: If pork is the other white meat, then Wahoo's carnitas taco (above left) is practically the fish taco's cousin. At Wahoo’s, they share the same midline texture and whitewashed taste. Surf meets turf; neither one evolves. ($2.99 )
 Tortillas: Storebought doubled-up white corn
 Salsa: Let’s talk first about Mr. Lee’s Hot Sauce, the sambal-style chili paste that Wahoo’s offers on request. Its sweet ginger heat might be just what the fish tacos need. Not sure how to use Wahoo’s green sauce, a milky wash of roasted green pepper and cilantro. Is it a salsa, a dressing or a shot? Tomatoes in the red salsa have just started to turn, making an otherwise commendable salsa fresca taste ... fishy.
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The 500 Tacos Project
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)