My knowledge of Battle Creek restaurants is limited to what I run across when I happen to be in town. I’ve always got a small list of places in the back of my mind, but I don’t always remember those when I’m in Battle Creek and I have time to eat. It’s like…if only someone would invent a device that would let me write notes and keep them in my pocket….
Anywho. I was in Battle Creek one day early last week. My plan was to finish my job assignment then go to a restaurant in Bedford Township that I’ve been wanting to try. Plans changed when I was needed back in Grand Rapids much sooner than I thought. I didn’t think I was going to get dinner at all until I noticed a sign as I was driving east on I-94 near the Capitol Avenue exit. A sign for a new restaurant in the spot of an old restaurant that I really miss on days I don’t have much time as I’m driving on I-94 through town.
That new restaurant is called Torti Taco and it’s in the space formerly used by Redline BBQ on Beckley Road between Lakeview Square Mall and Capitol Avenue. The backside of the building is visible from I-94 and that’s where I noticed the sign.
I was hoping it would be a counter service restaurant where I could order some tacos and get back on the road. As luck would have it, it totally is. In fact, the layout hasn’t really changed at all from Redline BBQ right down to the chalkboard on the wall with the menu. They’ve gotten rid of the red and white checkered decorations that make up a typical BBQ roadhouse, but that’s about the only real change in decor.
The menu is simple. A real taqueria. Tacos, burritos, quesadilla, nachos, salads, and shrimp. No big plates with rice and beans. Just real Mexican street food.
I ordered five Asada (steak) tacos to go. They actually give you the choice of American (lettuce, cheese, tomato) or Mexican tacos (cilantro and onion) and what kind of tortilla (corn or flour). I went with corn tortillas and just cilantro on my tacos.
The cost came to a little over $10 and while I was waiting, I filled up some little cups of salsa. They have a salsa bar on one side of the dining room with six salsa for you to choose from. I stuck with the mild for my tacos but I did grab a little bit of the chorizo salsa which was delicious, but not something I’d want to mix with steak.
It took a little less than ten minutes for my tacos to be bagged up and handed to me. I needed to get back on the road so I threw the bag on the floor of my car and started driving. I was still waiting on my next job assignment so I was hopeful I’d get to pull over somewhere and eat before I got back to Grand Rapids.
Yeah. That didn’t happen. When I got back to Grand Rapids, the tacos were still hot and I could not wait to sit down and eat them. They were packed in two different containers, so I busted open the smaller one first.
The corn tortillas were almost overflowing with steak. The steak was cut into thick chunks, highly seasoned and grilled with a little bit of crispiness of the edges. The meat wasn’t super tender, but that could have been because of the lag time in actually getting to eat them. I won’t judge that based on this visit.
I poured a little bit of the mild salsa on to each of the tacos and even though it claims to be mild, it was still pretty spicy….and fresh. The fresh cilantro and the salsa just enhanced the flavor of an already delicious taco.
Torti Taco is simple. I love simple when it comes to Mexican restaurants. I don’t always like the sides. I just want tacos and that’s exactly what this place does. Sure, there are a few sides on the menu, but they’re not packaged with the meal. What you get from Torti Taco is delicious, authentic Mexican street food…and that’s my favorite kind of taco joint.