Wicker Park is the epicenter of fancy tacos, so the neighborhood makes sense as a location for the first American outpost of Tijuana-based taqueria Kokopelli. But with Big Star, Takito Kitchen and Antique Taco all located nearby, it’s hard not to compare Kokopelli to these spots, all of which make a much, much better taco.
They all also make better salsa, since the sad pineapple salsa we started with consisted of a few diced chunks of pineapple swimming in a habanero-laced sauce. It was way too sweet and served with a dish of stale tortilla chips, which we also received with a serviceable guacamole, dressed with raw onions and tomato.
Out of the dozen kinds of tacos available, the majority are seafood or veggie, and while it’s nice to see a lots of non-meat options, Big Star, Takito Kitchen and Antique Taco all make excellent fish tacos. That makes it all the more disappointing to receive a huge plle of mushy trout, or a flavorless piece of fried mahi mahi, topped with an abundance of ingredients. While the charred tortillas had a nice flavor, they were a single layer and collapsed under the weight of the filling.
With a comfortable and colorful dining room, I’d like to think that Kokopelli would be a fine place for a margarita and guacamole, for times when I don’t want to deal with crowds at the other taco spots, but my Margarita Kokopelli was weak and watery. In a neighborhood with an abundance of taco options, Kokopelli just doesn't cut it.