Wars could be waged over who makes the best fish tacos in San Diego, but Trey Foshee, the chef/partner at George's at the Cove in La Jolla , has always been a contender. His swoon-worthy tacos - stuffed with marinated and grilled white-meat fish, mango and traditional salsas, cabbage, guacamole and jalapeño lime mayo - are delicious, but expensive ($14 for two).
So bargain-hunting taco enthusiasts rejoiced when Foshee and his business partners George Hauer and April Johnson announced plans last year to open a more budget-friendly taco shop in La Jolla Shores . Galaxy Taco, which debuted in July, is a casual and inviting patio restaurant and bar that explores Mexican food and drink "through a San Diego lens."
The atmosphere is funky and fun, with eye-popping paint colors, murals and festive Baja-style decorations of piñatas, calaveras and crucifixes. The flowing indoor/outdoor space, built on the site of an old market and some beach cottages, has two patio areas and an indoor dining room and bar. The all-day menu starts at $5 for a la carte tacos and tops out at $25 for full plated entrees. Hand-shaken cocktails include house-made sangrias, margaritas and other Mexican-inspired drinks ($10-$13) made with tequilas from organic and family-owned distilleries.
The food, much of it served on retro cafeteria-style metal trays, may seem humble but there's nothing simple about its preparation. The soft blue corn tortillas are made in-house with fresh-ground non-GMO masa, the ingredients are locally sourced and sustainable, and just about everything is made from scratch.
The menu offers a great diversity of salads, sides and proteins with interesting touches on every plate.
It's hard to choose among Foshee's 10 taco varieties, so we settled on four. The best was the carne asada taco, which had a rich, full-bodied flavor and the surprise complement of a spicy smoked bone marrow-salsa macha with a fat scoop of creamy house guacamole. Another winner was the potato taco, made with a spicy green chorizo rub, crispy kale leaves and queso fresco. The grilled fish taco (made with fresh tombo) had a sweet pineapple-jalapeno salsa with optional uni topper. Only the chicken adobo taco disappointed. It was flavorful but dry.
From the entree menu, we ordered the trout ($25), thickly coated with a savory adobo rub and cooked to fork-tender, juicy perfection on a wood-fired grill.
A sampler of house-made salsas are delivered with your meal. Pay attention to the hot sauce descriptions, because Foshee isn't afraid of a little (or a lot of) heat.
I tend to fill up on chips at Mexican restaurants, but on our visit the waiter said the chips weren't (yet) made in-house, so we skipped them to save room for dessert. It was a wise choice. Do try the cooked-to-order churros with vanilla ice cream and a decadent Mexican-style warm fudge dipping sauce.
Galaxy Taco is still pretty pricey for a beach side taco shop. Our lunch for two, which included a shared salad but no drinks, was $90, with tip. But the care and thought that goes into every detail at Galaxy - like the tangy tomato-mint salsa and the scrumptious elote (grilled Mexican street corn coated with chili powder, lime mayo and cotija cheese) - makes it well worth a visit.