Pokéz - Downtown San Diego
Eater #1: Veggie Taco, Beef Taco.
OK – All my blood is still in my stomach, the portions are HUGE. It’s nap time.
I ordered a couple of tacos, expecting, well, tacos. The Beef taco was regular size, loaded up with nice shredded beef, lettuce, tomatoes and a bunch of grated cheddar. The meat was good, but the taco shell was disappointing, similar to the boxed ones that you find in the white-guy section of the supermarket.
The veggie taco was killer… and it was a frickin monster. They made it in a fried flour tortilla, and it was loaded. Rice, beans, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes – and all of it was good. It also came with a side of rice and beans. Good beans covered in jack.
I nabbed a taste of the chicken off of another eaters tostada salad – next time that is what I’m getting. I don’t know how they made it, but it was damn good.
I was kinda surprised, Pokéz is a sit down restaurant. The wait staff was a bunch of 20 somethings – all tatted up. Real cool place, the late 80s tunes were blaring, the walls covered in original, indie art.
I’m going back, next time for chicken tacos and beer… as long as they don’t come in those crappy shells.
Eater #2: Combo 5 - beef taco, cheese enchilada, chili rellano, rice and beans.
God damn salsa was pretty god damn good. The god damn #5 combo of beef taco, cheese enchilada and god damn chili rellano, rice and beans was 6.8 of 10. The chili god damn rellano really tied the plate together and salvage what would have been an average tasting combo. The atmosphere was god damn unique with the different art stylings and tattooed staff. With a big god damn group of people the wait for the food was god damn long and combined with the tasty aromas from the kitchen, it was god damn hell. But at least the god damn waitress kept the chips and salsa full. All and all a great god damn place and would definitely eat there again with so many tasty things to try on the menu. Fin...god damnit. God save the Queen
Eater #3: 1 beef taco, 1 cheese enchilada, beans and rice.
The rice was a bit bland, but the rest was all top notch! My combo wasn't actually on the menu but the server was more than happy to accommodate. Oh and they have a good selection of vegetarian/vegan dishes, which is a nice option. The service was a bit slow, but my theory is that if you are going to a Mexican food restaurant you go for the food, not the service. The two servers I saw were both really nice, it was just a little slow. The food was good, which is what really matters. I'll be back for sure.
Eater #4: 5 Potato Rolled Tacos
Yum!!! I've been to this fine establishment before....many years ago.... because it was the only place that could make vegan food taste good! So, feeling nostalgic, I ordered the potato rolled tacos with a side of rice, vegan style. Basically this just means that they don't put cheese on it and everything is plant based....no yucky beef oil. The diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro that covered the top of the tacos was fresh, crunchy, and full of flavor. The tacos themselves were very filling, covered in guacamole, and I could only eat 4 of the 5. Great music, wonderful staff, reasonable prices. Love this place.
Eater #5: Chicken Tostada Salad
Great location, great prices and an excellent menu. Walked up to the restaurant and was instantly drawn to all of the "art work" on the outside of the building. Band flyers and stickers flooded the walls. I was regrettably unaware that Burlesque shows were held in the downtown vicinity. Salsa was excellent on my yummy Chicken Tostada Salad. I scarfed it down in no time at all. The bathroom was interesting. Instead of a handle on the door, there is a hole with a man's body drawn around it, so you are looking through his butt. Graffiti and more "artwork" everywhere and there are signs to the "shitter" to make sure you don't miss after all of the greasy tacos go through your system. Had to ask for our check, so maybe dinner might workout better. If you're not in a hurry that is.
Eater #6 - something with a chili relleno
If you ever wonder where the tattoed, pierced-in-the-most-ridiculous-of-places dickheads went to work after Tower Records closed down, visit Pokez on 10th St where they have been reincarnated to serve some tasty Mexican food.
After catching a whiff of one of the servers who wore a tank top to show off his bitchin' tats (and, who along the rest of the lot, served with the same indifference minus the cheekiness and gusto of a server at Dick's Last Resort) I chose to minimize the risk of infection from my possibly washed plastic cup by requesting a straw at the front counter. I'm sure the Pokez peeps are clean enough, but the body "art" made me naseous just thinking of the used and likely dirty needles that made their look possible. The sloppy paint thrown across canvasses and pocelain statuettes throughout the place (which might be considered "cool" by the artsy types) did not do anything to tell me this was going to be a fine dining experience.
It was the most delicious Mexican food prepared and served by shitheads that I've ever tasted.
I had the Number 14... a savory Chile Relleno that was unbreaded and cooked to a perfection which allowed the taste of the unknown, watery cheese-stuffed scrumptious chile to leave me wishing I ordered only that. The 14 came with the most succulent Carne Asada taco that, on a night of drinking Downtown, I would have consumed heartily. But earlier in the day I finished my lunch from Phil's BBQ from the day before, so I couldn't stomach the tortilla shell. Its flavor and Old Town Mexican Cafe texture was GREAT, but I didn't want to get filled on the massive double maize shell, being sober and all. Instead I dumped the contents out on the flavorful rice and beans. My gluttony was also sated by the chips and kick-ass salsa Tatoo Boy and Girl brought to the table while we waited 15 minutes for our lunch. Everything served was very good.
Reality: Very good food and the unwashed atmosphere made it feel like Lemon Grove hole-in-the-wall genuine Mexican cuisine. A great Downtown location.
What could be better: A walk up counter where you could pay individually and not have to worry about who owes what when the bill comes. Also, Pokez could use a self-serve salsa bar where you don't have to deal with Freddy or Fredericka Tattoo looking at you crosseyed when you ask for something.
On the outside looking in: I'm an asshole. Taking into account the complete douchebaggery of the art freaks and tatted up caricatures working at Pokez I'd give this place a solid "A" for really good food and a "C-" for atmosphere. The food was delicious and the best feeling was getting out of there. The same feeling as leaving a good shithole place in Mexicali except you exit into the streets of my beloved Downtown San Diego.