I was in Seattle a few months ago visiting family I have there. This a review of Tacos Chukis, a taco joint tucked away in an inconspicuous shopping center on the main street of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Capitol Hill was the home of the ’90s grunge scene in Seattle. Today, Broadway, Capitol Hill’s main thoroughfare, is lined with indie cafes and coffeehouses, ethnic restaurants and thrift shops (the Crossroads Trading Co. here is amazing!).
After a day of exploring the neighborhood, I wanted to find a good lunch spot. I consulted Yelp and Zomato because although there were many restaurants to choose from, I’ve learned that it’s best to double check your intuition against public opinion. Once I decided to eat at a random Chinese restaurant in DC’s Chinatown without consulting reviews and I ended up having a very bland and disappointing meal. Never again. So I looked for a cheap, casual, ethnic meal on Capitol Hill and Yelp and Zomato pointed me towards Tacos Chukis. The restaurant is easy to miss, as it is located in an upper back corner of a shopping center and the sign for the restaurant is inconspicuous. Scary signs posted throughout the shopping center prohibiting visitors from using drugs also probably would have kept me from randomly stumbling upon Tacos Chukis.
Thankfully the restaurant was bustling, so I knew I picked a good lunch spot. I ordered three different tacos to sample the most of what Tacos Chukis had to offer. I tried the Pollo Asado Taco, Carne Asada Taco and the Adobada Taco (essentially chicken, beef and pork tacos).
Unfortunately, the tacos came on corn tortillas, which I simply do not like. A flour shell should have definitely made me appreciate the tacos more. The corn flavor and texture is sometimes overwhelming, especially when the meat is lackluster as it was in the Pollo Asado Taco ($1.90), or grilled chicken taco. This taco was my least favorite of the trio because the chicken was kind of dry. Fortunately, I had ordered juicier meat tacos to try. All of the tacos were topped with fresh onions, salsa and guacamole. The guacamole had a runny consistency. The tacos really could have used some cheese. I could have added some for an additional fee, but I was feeling cheap that day so I suffered. The tacos had a touch of heat. I typically don’t like putting citrus flavors on my food, but a squeeze of lime added nice flavor to the tacos.
The Carne Asada Taco ($1.90)was much better than the chicken taco. The steak was much juicier than the chicken and had a great smoky flavor.
The Adobada Taco ($1.90) was made with pork and topped with a slice of pineapple, as well as all of the garnishes that came on the other tacos. Although the steak was the tastiest, the pork was the chewiest and fattiest of the meats, which is great in my book. Pork and pineapple juice seeped out as I took bites of this taco – a little messy, but worth it. The pineapple added variety to the flavor of the taco. My only wish was that there was more than a single chunk of pineapple.
The Bottom Line:
The Food: 2/5
While this meal was tasty and cheap (under $6 for three tacos), it left me wanting more. The tacos were pretty small, as was everything on them. I’ve probably just been spoiled by Chipotle’s gargantuan servings. People say Chipotle is far from authentic Mexican food, but it is what I compare Mexican food to because I don’t know any better. The tacos at Tacos Chukis were small and just didn’t have enough on them (the meat servings were tiny). I would recommend the restaurant add rice or beans as side dishes on the menu to really satisfy customers’ appetites. I was disappointed by Tacos Chukis because my meal did not meet the high expectations the Yelpers set me up to have.
The Atmosphere: 3/5
Tacos Chukis had a pretty unique look. The wooden establishment looked like a tiki shack from the outside. The fast, casual atmosphere complemented the relaxed vibe. You place your order at the counter and wait for them to bring you your order. Tacos Chukis uses cardboard 6-pack beer bottle holders as napkin and condiment holders, which I thought was a clever touch. Added bonus: I could also see the top of the Space Needle from my window seat.
The Alley, 219 Broadway E (Capitol Hill)
Seattle, WA 98102