Checking in a Tikka Taco, 1425 Ocean Front Walk
By Kerry Slater
Tikka Taco, a new spot on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, serves up Desi-fusion street food, including a tandoori tinga taco served on roti that hits the spot.
Tikka Taco, located at 1425 Ocean Front Walk, opened this spring in a small space on the Venice Beach Boardwalk flanked by Hot Spring Chicken and Turn Dough. From chef Kamran Gil, Tikka Taco, open 12-8 daily, offers self-described “gourmet comfort” fusion food “taking flavors from around the world and packaging it in a flavor that hits close to home.”
For lunch I got three tacos–tandoori chicken tinga, beef seekh kebab, portobello mushroom–which came out to $15 with tax and tip.
The chicken was by far the best of the three tacos. The shredded tandoori meat was juicy and packed full of flavor. While garnished with creamy corn and cilantro, this taco did not need any salsas or toppings, with the house-made tikka masala flavor speaking for itself. The only complaint I had with this taco was it could have used a bit more filling, as a few bites on the ends were dominated by roti.
The seekh kebab taco was solid but not on the same level as the chicken. From a flavor perspective, this was very good, similar to an intact seekh kebab. However, texturally was lacking, as the seasoned ground beef was a bit dry, at least compared to the chicken taco I had just eaten. But still, this was a great taco, thanks in large part to the excellent charred scallion aioli and bell pepper salsa which contrasted nicely with meat.
The portobello mushroom taco was a difficult one for me to gauge. Each component of the taco was very good, and aesthetically it was pleasing, but the taco as a whole did not quite come together. The mushrooms, while flavorful, spicy and hearty, did not pair well with the roasted chickpeas topping the taco, which were too crunchy, and a bit like adding chips to a taco. I think with more mushrooms and keeping the garnish to just the cabbage would have been better, though I am not the chef here.
One other thought I have is regarding the roti, which at Tikka Taco is made from scratch and similar to a standard flour taco tortilla. I could not help comparing the tacos to the chicken tikka masala frankie from Bombay Frankie Company (formally in West LA now at Westfield Culver City)– one of my favorite items of food on the Westside. While a frankie is not a taco, they are similar in concept and I think the tacos at Tikka Taco would be better if made with naan or garlic naan like the frankies at Bombay Frankie Company. That being said, I don’t mean to suggest the roti was substandard; it was quite the opposite.
Overall, despite any shortcomings, Tikka Taco is definitely worth stopping by for lunch or casual dinner. In the context of quick bites to eat on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I think this is one of the better options, adding quality and variety to the beachfront dining scene.