Foodies were all aflutter when news broke that Goghee To Go, a Korean-Mexican fusion taquería, was opening in Dallas proper. While I was excited as well, I was disappointed by the lack of perspective. Goghee was heralded as a pioneer in the area, proving once again that only when it is convenient do people recognize the merits of restaurants in the suburbs. Next month's Super Bowl is a prime example. It also shows that foodies are the ficklest lot. Kor-BQ, Sean Choi and Erik Park's Korean taco joint in Plano, has been there and done that.
So, in comes the new kid. Folks go nuts over its supposed novelty, sometimes waiting up to an hour for a filled order. When I asked, customers often said, "It's too early to pass judgment." But when pressed about their first impression of Goghee's tacos, they responded with a resounding "Meh." They would return if they worked nearby, at the hospital across the street, for example, but probably wouldn't go out of their way. A friend and I, who made it to the Medical District's newest taco joint before the crowds of curious munchers, reacted similarly. I will, however, go out of my way for a taco, and Goghee merited a second look.
Opening day was cold with a biting wind. Spicy Korean tacos would be the perfect antidote to the inclement weather. As I waited for my lunch, I expressed my issues with Goghee's location near two esteemed taquerías, La Paisanita and La Hechezera, as well as barbecue stalwart Sonny Bryan's. Could the upstart compete with such paragons? Goghee To Go owners Janice and Terry Song seem to think so. "The Inwood location [site of a former Burguesa Burger] just felt right. We found that location by accident. We were driving by one day and we just fell in love with that location," they told me in an e-mail. When they found the building, Burguesa was still occupying it. "Unfortunately, the spot was taken, but the business didn't seem to be doing well. We drove by that location every few weeks to check on that business, and one day it wasn't there anymore."
There we were on the first day of business, when customers received one free taco with each purchase. Since they offer only four types of tacos, I went for the lot.
The chicken was tasteless -- pretty to look at, but tasteless. The yellow corn tortilla it was in was oily and difficult to grip. While the chicken was still disappointing during my follow-up visit, the yellow tortilla had been replaced with the white corn variety, eliminating the former's slippery quality and allowing the fillings to stand out. The pork was poorly chopped on my first visit, with connective tissue making the meat look like a flat sausage link. On the second visit, the pork was chopped into thick threads that dissolved in charges of sweet and spicy. The beef, meanwhile, was cloyingly sweet. "I know it's Korean, but, man, that's sweet," my companion said. The beef also was better on my second visit, when there was the heat I was so looking forward to a week earlier. The mushroom, the lone vegetarian option, was a soppy mess. It could've drained in a sieve for a few minutes.
While the tacos are still being fine-tuned, Goghee's burrito bowls have become a popular menu item. "Many of our customers have been trying our burrito bowls. I didn't expect them to take off so soon, but we're not surprised. They are our favorite!"
I want Goghee To Go to be one of my favorites. That's why I gave little credence to my first impression, something I don't do easily. This time, it paid off. There's promise at Goghee.
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