Many readers have told me they think presentation was an over-weighted category. Their argument is that value and atmosphere are more crucial to the taco shop experience and the final score should reflect such realities. I disagree. A well presented dish demonstrates a shop’s passion for the food, and is a real treat to experience.
Best Presentation: Mucho Gusto
Yes, in Mucho Gusto’s Final 4 match against Cal’s, I was somewhat critical of the presentation. However, in Mucho Gusto’s two other matches, it received perfect marks, absolutely annihilating the competition in the category. The pride the cooks/owners take in their food is demonstrated by the appearance of every dish. As a reminder, this is what Mucho Gusto’s wonderful cuisine looked like:
El Indio-Their rolled tacos were beautifully presented. Their torta-not so much.
Juanita’s-The beef tacos looked great due to the use of a homemade shell and sturdy white plates.
Closest Resemblance to Dog Food: Nico’s
Okay, I dropped the ball on this one. During the tournament, I gave Nico’s 3/5 points for presentation. They received such generous marks because their enchiladas were presented in a really nice plastic container. In retrospect, after looking through all the food photographs again, Nico’s served the worst looking food and it was not even close. The unmelted cheese, the grotesquely off-putting enchilada sauce, and the whole garden of lettuce combine to make an extremely unattractive dish.
Aiberto’s-Some of the worst looking rolled tacos I have ever seen. The hot sauces did not appear any more appetizing.