I Want Domo Taco Truck To Be Better Than It Is

When I saw Lunch’er Mike’s report last month that the Domo Taco truck improved, I was stoked. Back in February, Brian wasn’t such a fan, which was disappointing for a Japanese food fan like myself.  But sometimes it takes a minute for a new establishment to get into a groove. When the truck hit up Midtown the other day, I was looking forward to give the truck a shot. Turns out my excitement may have been premature.

I ordered two tacos, the fish tempura taco (left, $4) and kare beef taco (right, $3). First of all, the fishy smell that greeted me as I opened the container was certainly a turnoff. I stomached trying it anyway, and was surprised to find the fish taco didn’t actually taste fishy. Baja style beer batter fish with miso slaw and pico de gallo sounds great in theory, but it lacked salt and seasoning. To make matters worse, the tempura batter absorbed liquid from everything else, making the fish soggy. The one factor that could be seen as redeeming is that the taco is a surprisingly large portion, including 2 sizable pieces of fish in one taco. What the taco boasted in size, though, it lacked in taste. Certainly not worth the extra buck.

The kare beef taco was described as tender sliced sirloin steak in Japanese curry with cucumber pineapple salsa and queso fresco. Unfortunately, the meat was definitely dry, not tender. The kare sauce was bland and had no bite. Maybe I’m too traditional when it comes to my taste for Japanese food, but pineapple is such a weird pairing for beef kare. I would have preferred a mango or peach salsa. Again, the taco wasn’t balanced and needed seasoning (worth nothing I didn’t request hot sauce on my food). Most importantly, the filling was too wet for a 1-ply corn tortilla — the whole thing just disintegrated when I tried to pick it up.

The side of yakisoba ($3) was the best of the items I ordered. Although the noodles were a little dry, the seasoning was correct. The noodles included sauteed red onion, a couple pieces of cabbage and a pinch of pickled ginger on the side. My husband tried the nacho tots, and unlike Brian’s experience, my husband said they tasted like Asian barbecue sauce. When he tried to pick one up, though, it just fell apart. So, oddly, utensils were required to eat the potatoes.

Although I think the concept is great and I really, really wanted to like Domo Taco, they definitely haven’t made great enough strides for me to make a return trip any time soon. Maybe Lunch’er Mike caught the truck on a good day, but I’m siding with Brian’s original assessment on this one.

According to their Twitter feed they’re back on Park btw. 46+47th today, but as always, check the Twitter Tracker before you head out. If you do decide to check them out for yourself, let us know if you hit or miss in the comments.


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    I’ve had food from here 3x and have to agree with Mike’s linked review.

    We are in agreement that they need to double the tortilla at least on the beef taco which, at least for me, has gotten soggy and fallen apart every time. The others have held up until I finished them.

    Extra spicy is how I order.

    The fish taco is my least favorite.

    Between the chicken and pork, I think the chicken was better only because the pork in my taco seemed to be dry. Otherwise, there wasn’t a whole lot of distinction between the two.

    I think my favorite was the beef due to the pineapple salsa and how it pairs with the hot sauce.

  • Is this owned by Japanese?

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    I feel like this review was generous. Since I started working in midtown over a year ago, this is the WORST lunch I’ve had. The tacos were so bad that I couldn’t even eat more than a bite of each taco. The fish smell is disgusting. And to top it all off, this food gave me food poisoning. I wouldn’t go back to Domo Taco even if I was paid to eat it. This place is worse than 4food…and that’s saying a lot.

  • will never take this person’s reviews serious again. fishy smell from fish….ok yeah..

  • <- the Mike in question

    See, I didn't go for the fish because I was pretty darn sure it'd just be some bland cod or tilapia, not worth the protein when other alternatives are available, but my question on the crust absorption factor would be how crunchy it was at origin, right out of the fryer, vs. how crunchy it was at destination, after having soaked up the liquids from the destination.

    Also, overt fishiness in cooked fish is usually a very bad thing, doubly so when it's not a flaky oily fish like salmon, swordfish, etc. If they're just dispensing fried inexpensive fish-based protein to conform to Lenten or otherwise non-land-meat eating dietary requirements/restrictions, it's gonna be just basic and unflavored. I have yet to have fish that didn't come from a place that did seafood well that wasn't a good standalone piece of fish and I have yet to encounter a lunch/food joint that did fish/seafood well this side of Frying Dutchmen (RIP).

    I did opt for hot sauce on the tacos and I felt it was an amazing blend of flavor and kick that really rounded things out well. Most Japanese curry I've had was mild by default, and while they do make hot curry roux/bricks/sauces that you can get at Asian markets and Amazon, I've found it was at best a tingle. It could just be a Japanese tastes thing, but I think in this case there's real misnomering happening with the beef curry taco. It is definitely not sliced steak, and by putting that there, people are expecting juicy, perfectly rare chunks of beef. That isn't what's there and it isn't what you're going to get, so I do fault Domo Taco for not altering their menu to ensure people don't get the wrong idea.

    That said, pineapple and Japanese curry is a great combo to me. There's a precedent for this – Vermont Curry, made in Japan and available at said Asian markets (Sunrise Mart and others in the city should have it, Mitsuwa in Jersey has it by the truckload) is made with apples in the base and it's a nice sweet balance to the spices. If you go into Japanese curry expecting Indian or Thai, you really should go to Go Go Curry first and get a taste of what the real stuff, done right, tastes like – unless you're lucky enough to get to Japan or if you make it at home.

    I encourage everyone to at least give the char shu pork and chicken tacos at Domo a shot, but they really gotta get their shit together and double-layer the tortillas already.

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