Budget Beat

$10 Lunch at La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop

​If you have the option of eating a shark taco or not eating a shark taco, always eat the shark taco. 

OK, so I didn't take my own advice until this weekend, but the point is, La Condesa Taco Shop on 16th Street near McDowell has shark tacos. Dogfish shark tacos to be exact, which I hear are actually commonplace in some parts of Mexico. But that certainly makes me feel no less badass. I'm officially a shark eater.

It was far less exciting than you'd think -- though tasty. Basically, venturing to La Condesa for a Baja Sur Dogfish Shark Taco ($2.99) is about the same as scouting out a quality deep fried fish taco anywhere else, with a few distinct texture differences. Dogfish shark has a less flaky, delicate feel than fish. It's also considerably less fishy, which made my fish-hating guest grin like he was now part of some sort of underground pescado-loving club. The battered shark was crisp on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside, only made tastier by the restaurant's mild, creamy cilantro salsa, one of 11 unique salsas available for free. 

My least adventurous selection, a Sororan Carne Asada taco ($2.99), needed a bit of dressing up. The steak was perfectly marinated and tender, with just a touch of crispy char on the edges, but other than that, it was pretty bland. That's where the salsa comes in. A little bit of Salsa Cabo is what the steak needed. 

My favorite of the taco trio by far was the La Condesa Shrimp Taco ($3.99). Call me a sucker, but on top of shrimp, onions and spinach (some of my favorite things) laid a hunk of delicious, fatty, melt-in-your-mouth toasted Oaxaca cheese. Screw you, salsas. I was in cheese heaven. 

Friendly, quick service made La Condesa an overall badass, shark-conquering experience that's worth a second shot. And a tenth. 

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Christina Caldwell