Cheeky in Cumming at The Avenue

Last night my wife and I went out to Cheeky Taqueria at the Avenue in Cumming, just off exit 13 on 400. We were celebrating her finishing up a grueling quarter at school and wanted some grub and cocktails and Cheeky fit the bill. I’ve eaten at the Suwanee location about 2 years ago and never reviewed it here since I couldnt really remember much about it let alone exactly what I ate. I guess I wasnt impressed enough to go back but you know how Atlanta folks are, not wanting to drive anywhere more than 10-15 minutes away.

Anyway here goes and I’ll apologize ahead of time for the lack of pics. I couldn’t steal any online and the pics I took with my cellphone were subpar. The location is in The Avenue shopping center so there’s plenty of stuff nearby like…more shopping and a movie theater. The atmosphere is great. If your in the mood for some drinks, some margarita’s, a couple glasses of tequila and some food to accompany your developing alcoholism, its a great place. The interior is cavernous and on this friday night was slammed, we had a 10 minute wait. All the tables are huge too. I don’t remember seeing any couples tables but every table looked to hold at least 6 people. That thing I said about drinking…this place wants you to do it with friends. We just so happened to have some friends meet us so it worked out great.

They have an impressive draft list but only 2 Mexican brews, both Dos Equis which is fine because I enjoy both the Amber and Lager but they had the usual suspects in bottles. I think this is because of the availability of kegs from the brewers and the fact that all the sheeple have to drink their Corona’s out of bottles with limes.  After getting our brewski’s we ordered our dinners ALL TACO’S! and 2 glasses of Herrdura Tequila, one represado and one anejo. I’ll review the tequila’s in another post.

For dinner I had 3 taco’s, their steak, sliced pork and the fish taco. They offer all their taco’s with a choice of tortilla, either soft flour, corn or crispy corn. The taco’s also come loaded with specific ingredients to accompany the flavors of each taco so no two are alike. Most are $2-3 each and they offer a combo plate that comes with 3 taco’s, rice and a choice of Charro or refried beans. I wasn’t that hungry so I opted for the a la carte.

The Fish taco. They load their fish taco like most do with a fried white fish, poblano slaw and a chipotle cream sauce. I had mine on a crispy corn tortilla since thats how I roll with my fish taco’s. As I expected from the last time I ate their it was average. The whole thing was a little too saucy for me and overpowered the fish. Speaking of the fish, it was cooked perfectly, was nice and juicy and had nice flavor by itself but was too small to compete with all that sauciness. The shell was a let down as well. They use a generic pre-made shell that tastes like whatever crap you can buy in a box at the grocery store. For a place that tauts itself as a modern upscale taqueria they could have sprung for some freshly made tortilla’s. Overall I’ll give this a 2.5 out of 5

The Sliced Pork Taco. This had a unique combination of ingredients and I’m a pork-whore so it was definitely speaking my language. The pork was marinated in Mojo and sliced then covered with a Mango Pico and finished with a pineapple chipotle drizzle. I could at least taste the pork this time but I still think the sauces and salsa’s are too overpowering. Once again it was cooked perfectly. I had this one with the soft corn tortilla which was wrapped with a single tortilla. After downing the Fish taco it was already soggy and breaking apart when I holding it, must’ve been that saucy thing again 😦 2.5 out of 5

The Steak Taco. Grilled Skirt steak, onion, cilantro and salsa guajuillo. This was reading like it was right up my alley and easily the most authentic one of the bunch. I also had this on a corn tortilla which started to break apart like the pork taco’s but this wasn’t anywhere as wet. The steak was cooked nicely and was extremely tender. The onion and cilantro was fresh and paired like the best cantina taco’s. They topped it with a bit of a spicy, somewhat thick red sauce, almost like the Cock Sauce (sriracha) at Asian restaurants. I thought it was a bit too much and took away from the simplicity of this taco. Almost like the Chef couldn’t leave it alone and wanted a bit more flavor. Regardless I enjoyed it thoroughly and would give it a solid 3 out of 5 chaka’s.

My wife had the Vegetarian Taco’s since shes a…get this. A Vegetarian. She’s talking, I’m typing so this is almost like a guest blogger. It was filled with Balsamic glazed mushrooms, zucchini, poblano and red peppers, fried onion strings, and some type of tomatillo salsa but heres the kicker, it wasn’t exactly filled if you get my drift. All the flavors were balanced but lacked mass which was exaggerated by the flour tortilla. She was happy she opted for the combo with the rice and refried beans as it just wasn’t enough food. Unless you like eating tortilla’s with a few pieces of grilled veggies in them. The rice was better than your standard fair and the beans were ok. It looks like a 2 outta 5 for team veg.

Overall we give Cheeky a 2.5 outta 5. Their saving grace lied in the booze. A great tequila list, tables with pour-your-own drafts, and a bevy of tasty margarita’s and cocktails. The food was above average and eclectic. If your going out with a group of friends and having drinks, the atmosphere way makes up for the fact that some of the grub isn’t up to Johnny Boot’s authentic pallet. It’s definitely a drink and grab some food and apps type of place.

Stay tuned for the review of aged Herradura Tequila’s…

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