Rusty Taco in northeast Minneapolis: A first look

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Rusty Taco isn't new to Minnesota (there's one in St. Paul on Lexington Avenue), but Minneapolis is seeing the first of the Dallas-based chain with the recent opening of a brand-new outpost in northeast Minneapolis. The restaurant opened its doors last month in the former home of Look + See Eyewear, next to the old Wilde Roast space on East Hennepin Avenue. Those familiar with the St. Paul location won't find too many differences in the Minneapolis restaurant, with the exception of a full liquor license, which allows them to sell margaritas and specialty tequila in addition to their four tap beers. The Hot Dish stopped by to see the new space and sample some of their wares.

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Mo Perry
The menu consists of 12 tacos made with variations on five main fillings: beef, pork, chicken, fish, and veggies. The four side options include salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and queso, all of which come with a little basket of thick, salty chips.
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Mo Perry
The tacos automatically come wrapped in a single corn tortilla (with the exception of the black bean tacos, which come double-wrapped), making for easy disintegration with some of the heavier fillings. We found the queso to be satisfyingly warm and gooey, with a nice kick from the diced jalapenos that pepper the molten cheesy goodness.
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Mo Perry
Rusty Taco offers three salsas of varying degrees of spiciness, available on the counter in an array of color-coded squirt bottles. The tap beers currently include Pacifico, Shiner Bock, Lagunitas Pilsner, and Fulton Blonde.
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Mo Perry
We sampled five of the 12 taco options and found varying degrees of success. When ordering at the counter, we asked the cashier what his favorite taco on the menu is. He told us it was the fried chicken taco, and indeed, that was the best of those we tried. It offered a pleasant mix of textures, and whoever came up with jalapeno ranch deserves a smooch. The Baja shrimp taco didn't hold up as well. Where the fried chicken was crisp, the fried shrimp was limp and spongy. The brisket taco was serviceable, though a bit on the dry side, and the chicken fajita taco left us underwhelmed as well with a bare-bones, uninspired combination of hunks of grilled chicken and pico de gallo. The black bean taco was satisfying, but even the doubled up tortillas couldn't keep it intact. No big deal if you don't mind eating your taco with a fork.
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Mo Perry
Overall, while there are undoubtedly better options for killer, authentic Mexican food in the area (El Taco Riendo, we're looking at you), it is nice to enjoy a fresh beer with your tacos, and the chips and queso are almost worth a visit in themselves. The tacos are hit-and-miss, but if you take the time to find a few reliable hits on the menu, Rusty Taco would be a worthwhile place to have on your radar for a quick, affordable meal (four tacos and a beer come to about $15).

Rusty Taco
522 E. Hennepin, Minneapolis
612.315.5372; Rusty Taco's website

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8 comments
k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Wow Kenny probably has the most idiotic comment I have read on a site in years. Only a loser would think of Chicago as a huge step ahead of Minneapolis. A step yes.....but flying to chicago every weekend while you live here. Who is the idiot now. 

kenny1
kenny1

OMG!!  Tacos in Northeast Minneapolis??  How trendsetting!  First pizza, then sushi, and now tacos??  Those New Yorkers must be SO jealous of Minneapolis' cutting edge restaurant scene!!

UhHuh
UhHuh

Gay bukkake fan

kenny1
kenny1

 @natemann133 my friends are all conservatives and yes we have a blast because we pay for our own drinks.  We don't collect an EBT card each month like you do.  We are able to fly out to Chicago every other weekend and enjoy real food and cocktails while you pathetic losers drink your Surly beer at Northeast dive shit holes!  Have fun!!  Remember, I paid for your beer!!

kenny1
kenny1

 @UhHuh Wow!  I am impressed with your knowledge of gay barebacking sites!  Does that turn you on?  Are you a "bug catcher"?  Do you enjoy infecting others with HIV?  Wow!  You are a winner!

UhHuh
UhHuh

Oh, that's right. As I was leaving her place this morning, your Mom told me how you were able to make a trip to the big city all by yourself. I am very proud of you, young man! Our little Kenneth is growing up so fast.

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