I’ve been on the road for five years now and rarely have my travels offered the opportunity to sample good Mexican, or Tex-Mex food. At least not since I left Costa Rica in 2011. There was nothing in Croatia, or Sicily, and little here in Batam.
So when I learned that The New Place bar and restaurant in the Nagoya Entertainment District offered “genuine” Tex-Mex food, I thought it was worth a try. Apparently, the expat owner is from Texas and he brought his love of the food to Batam.
What I was really craving was tacos, as it had been years since I had one.
At New Place, I asked for a menu and glanced through it looking for my target dish. I don’t even remember what else is served as my only wish was for a good taco, or three. I found the tacos in the appetizer section, but found out the dish was more than ample as a complete meal.
I was a little concerned, however, when I saw the price (Rp100,000) and asked how many tacos came with the order.
“One,” the waitress answered. “Only one,” I replied. “How big is it.”
“Medium size,” came the answer, “but it will fill you up.”
Well, I had come a long way to try the New Place tacos, or taco, so I ordered. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
First, the communication with the waitress obviously was not perfect, as I was served three normal-sized tacos – a full plate full. So far, so good.
Each crispy taco shell was filled with a ground beef and spicy sauce mixture. On the side were fresh lettuce slices, thinly sliced tomato, sliced chili peppers, shredded cheese and sour cream. All the necessary fixins I was used to in the United States (except for avocado), although a California friend would quibble as to whether authentic tacos include sour cream.
After piling on the add-ons (even the chili peppers – I’m not a hot spicy kind of guy), I dug into my first taco. Maybe it was due to my long separation from anything taco, but it was absolutely delicious. I proceeded to devour all three tacos, sour cream and sauce dripping from my hands and lips, but not caring about appearances, just enjoying good food.
My one small complaint is that there was not enough cheese or sour cream for all three tacos, but I understand the availability and cost issues related to both. In Singapore, an 8-ounce container of sour cream costs almost SG$5, and cheeses are equally expensive. A dark cheddar instead of the light cheese (Was it mozzarella or white cheddar?) would have been nice, too.
But overall, well worth the price, at least to someone who has been taco-deprived for years.
And next, sampling the pulled pork at Lusy’s Oarhouse, another American delicacy I haven’t had since my last visit to the U.S. two years ago. Wouldn’t it be great if someone on Batam were to actually roast a whole pig in an in-ground pit for truly great pulled pork?