Let’s taco about Gringo’s Tacos in Jersey City for a few minutes. If someone asked me to name a few universally accepted foods; things like tacos, pizza and burgers would come to mind. If someone asked me to name some universally gluten free foods; tacos would be the first to come to mind with a long hesitant pause after. Gringo’s Tacos in Jersey City delivers on this truth with many gluten free options in a unique and modern fashion.
Remember back in high school or college, there was always that friend that had an attic over the car-less garage that was weirdly decorated but you felt so cool being there? Maybe they had music blaring, some cool lights and parties every now and then? This is what Gringo’s Tacos feels like, a party garage with an over the top Mexican theme. This place has great food, but is a social atmosphere above all else.
I’ve had all the tacos marked gluten free from this taco joint and I like almost all of them. The one’s that I like a lot (pictured below) don’t stand out as super outstanding but there are some that I wouldn’t have again (not pictured below). Because this place is unique, hip and modern; I imagine some of their tacos require an acquired taste. Aside from the tacos, the guacamole is great as is the corn tortilla chips. I’ve also had the corn appetizer that is doused in some sort of cheese and spices served in a skillet, which is fantastic. All in all, you won’t be disappointed in their gluten free offering.
Ahh the drinks. Like I said, this is above all a social restaurant. The drinks are far better then the food. And after enough of these delicious drinks, the food of course becomes better also. Very smart strategy for a restaurant. The margaritas are great but the real winner for me is the mezcal mule. Thanks to Gringo’s, this is now my favorite drink and I order this constantly. The best drink introduction I’ve ever had while being gluten free. You see, I used to be a scotch and whiskey drinker before the Celiac diagnosis. So the smokey flavor tequila, paired with some sweet and bitter ingredients makes this an incredible cocktail for my taste buds. You won’t be disappointed in your drink selection here though. Of course, most tequila is gluten free but make sure to ask them what mixers they might be using. They could easily change and that is how any bar will get you. So far I’ve never had a problem here though.
The service here is pretty bad in terms of gluten free eating. You know the routine at these bad spots. You tell the server you have a gluten allergy and then they point to the menu that you’ve been reading for 5 minutes as if you have no reading skills. I had one server who was great and told me that sometimes they put the house made corn tortilla chips in the same fryer as everything else, but usually they cook a day’s worth in the morning. I always ask EVERY server about this now and so far so good. But make sure you really press your server on this piece of information. Sometimes they brush it off though so be aggressive or ask for a manager. I’ve done that before sometimes here.
Menu Honesty (8.0)
The menu is mostly honest. Just watch out for the house made corn tortilla chips, which might sometimes end up in a shared fryer. This isn’t usually the case but can happen. For that, I deducted some points here. Otherwise, the menu is accurate. Nima has agreed with me also in recent trips.
Did I Get Sick (NO)
Nope. Never have I gotten sick here. I tested the corn chips and tacos in the last 2 visits with Nima and came back with smiley faces both times. If you read my special Nima review, then you know I proceed with caution if I get a smiley face (but is much better then getting a wheat symbol) but my gut has been in agreement.
For a gluten free eater, you will be mostly safe and enjoy this place. The food is good, but you will enjoy it more for the atmosphere and the drinks. Although La Loteria in NYC wasn’t nearly as honest with their menu as Gringo’s is, their food was better tasting with more traditional Mexican offerings. Gringo’s goes for that unique, hip and modern vibe and taste profile. I recommend this place for gluten free eaters, including celiacs. Just make sure you press your server and ask the appropriate questions, as you would anywhere.