Review of Nick Tahou Hots - Main Street Location

Submitted on January 10, 2014 by Cliff Chapman

Overall rating:
Rate the base ingredients:
Second base ingredient: None
Fries: French fries (straight)
Comment on the meat: Basic burger, a bit dry but still tasty. Cooked correctly.
Rate the meat:
Meat selection:
What kind of meat did you have on your plate?
Portion size: About perfect (I left satisfied)
French bread included? Yes
Comments on hot sauce: Bland and dry. Had obviously been sitting on a warmer for some time. Bland, did not have much flavor to it.
Rate the hot sauce:
Did you get hot sauce? Yes
Comments on base ingredients: Super basic fries, a bit dry (pre-lunch rush?)
Response time:
How long did it take to get your food?
How "classy" was your plate?
Service quality:
Comments on the environment: Factory district, old building, chilly room. Old dining furniture, simple plain benches.
Size of group:
Some locations have difficulty with large groups; others handle them fine.
Man-date (2)
Did you feel that you were going to get shot (0), or were you in the safe part of town (5)?
Comments: The one original and true claimant to the name "Garbage Plate". Picked up an Amazon Local coupon for here and decided to give it a shot with my girlfriend. I had not eaten anything before heading out for lunch, and thanks to a wonky sleep schedule this meant I had not eaten since around 5:00. We arrived at noon to the factory district right around noon with the expectation of a lunch rush, however parking behind the building showed just a few parked cars. The drive from the freeway was pleasant without much traffic.

Entering through the rear door we were greeted with a very obviously old lunchroom with a jutting out counter, with a lunch bar and Subway-style booths about the room. The temperature was noticeably chilly even inside the restaurant, I never removed my jacket while I was in the building. Stepping up to the counter we perused the menu to find very simple diner food dishes, likely the menu had not changed since the last century. Not a wink of 'health food' about the place. The single microwave hidden along the back wall (next to the obviously well maintained fire suppression system) screamed 1990s style.

Two plates, cheeseburger all fries, one without mustard, the other without onions, yes hots sauce. Processed the Amazon Local coupon and the total came out close to $20.50 for both of the plates and two small drinks.

The plates arrived on cafeteria trays, sitting upon a simple paper plate. Plastic knives and forks laid next to the dish, along with french bread sitting on a second smaller plate. Two packets of butter and a napkin finished the arrangement. Moments later along came both drinks in simple plastic cups and ice up to the brim, some soda slinking between the crevices.

We adjourned to a table in the middle of the room, hoping for some semblance of warmth leaking in from unseen heater vents. There were a handful of others about the room, keeping to their conversations or, when alone, to their lunch. A few regulars appeared, and struck up conversation with the 3-4 kitchen personnel always present. Ketchup was acquired from the same order counter when it was missed. Tom's hot sauce was not present where I could locate it.

My plate was divided in the usual speed-consume fashion: the knife was applied liberally to all surfaces larger than a bite. During this operation the texture and cooking quality of the two patties was noted in detail. Though cooked fine, there was no pink nor life left in either one. It was clear that they had not been cooked to order, instead prepared and left to slowly leak it's juicy deliciousness into the air. This in no way meant it was inedible, but it certainly was not the best it could have been.

The cheese appeared to be a simple American cheese, the obvious choice for a 'cheeseburger'. The onions were fresh if not plentiful, and on top sat the hots sauce. Normally, one would expect such sauce to be dripping about the food. When well prepared a good hots sauce eschews water for grease in its moisture content. This appeared to not be the case with the plate before me. Instead, I was left with chunks of meat slowly getting drier upon my cheeseburger. It was not readily apparent that the hots sauce was going to be a let down until my girlfriend spoke up first with her note of disappointment towards quality.

It was then that I peered at her plate, as her method of consuming a plate is radically different than mine. Rather than pre-prepare the meal for consumption, she chooses each bite carefully, to optimize the deliciousness of the plate. Here halfway through the meal I could note the hots sauce sitting upon her burger and fries. There it had begun to dry into a light paste; barely could it be considered a sauce.

The taste was something immediately noticeable as well. Though the grease could be noticed well it was missing the usual blast of taste that accompanies a meat-grease mixture such as hots sauce. Here we could taste only bland old meat and grease, there was no other spice or kick to be found.

By no means should this be considered a deal breaker. Rather a critical lens through which the plate was viewed. In comparison to a Mark's plate, or a Greece Hots plate, the original Garbage Plate should have been much more to behold. Entering during lunch on a Wednesday we were expecting a bit of a rush that was semi-present, coupled with enough churning of ingredients to have a delicious plate prepared hot and recent. Instead the lunch rush was well prepared for, and the dearth of ingredient churn meant that we did not have a particularly hot nor prepared meal. We were left with the warmed remnants of dreams.

Overall a bit of a letdown.