Home > Family, Food > Coa – Bayshore Mall

Coa – Bayshore Mall

My father-in-law is in town this week and so we decided to try Coa in Bayshore for dinner. We’d been there before for drinks and brunch but never for dinner. While the atmosphere was decidedly upscale (for Milwaukee, that is), this Bianchini owned restaurant (same group that runs Cubanitas and Osteria del Mondo among others) falls somewhat short in the food. Oh it’s fine enough, but not what you should expect when you’re paying $3-4 per taco.

We started off with some cocktails – we’d had the signature Coa drink before (a mix of tequila, prickly pear puree, and agave nectar) – that may have been the highlight of the evening. The bowl of tortilla chips were freshly made and the salsa was delicious. I asked for the spicier salsa that had hints of lime and chipotle, making it a bit smoky in flavor, which I enjoyed very much. The only negative was that the drinks took a long time to come to our table. Given that there were only a total of four tables occupied at the time, and given that the bartenders were obviously not busy, this was a bit annoying.

As an appetizer, we had the fresh guacamole and the queso fundido and both were pretty good. The queso fundido had bits of onions, green and red peppers and came with a side of flour tortillas, just like in the little restaurants in Mexico and was made not with melted Velveeta with some salsa mixed in like other popular Mexican restaurants in our city, but rather with Chihuahua cheese, the way it’s supposed to be made. The guac had a light topping of queso fresco and hints of garlic and cilantro but we like it to be a bit more chunky. It seemed like it was processed through a Robo-coupe.

For dinner, my father-in-law had the daily special – Yucatan style baby back ribs – which at 5:30 was down to the last 2 or 3 orders remaining for the evening (apparently they forgot to order the baby-back ribs from Sysco on their last food order), my wife and I tried 6 different tacos:

  • Al Pastor (chili-marinated pork, onion, pineapple, cilantro ) – $4
  • Tinga (stewed chicken, sweet onions,  cilantro, chipotle sauce) – $4
  • Chorizo (chorizo, black beans, cilantro, crema) – $4
  • Camarón (sautéed shrimp, cilantro, tomato, avocado, mango-lime sauce) – $5
  • Rajas (roasted poblano peppers, rustic potatoes, crema, grated cotija cheese) – $3
  • Frijoles (black beans, garlic, avocado, cilantro, crema) – $3

Each set of three came with the Coa rice (san marzano tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, peas, saffron)and your choice of black beans, refried beans or Coa Beans (pinto beans, Dos Equis, chorizo, bacon).

The Coa rice and the Coa beans were nondescript and a bit bland. Disappointing to say the least. My father-in-law enjoyed the ribs – I always believed that the mark of good ribs is the meat falling off the bone and just a hint of sauce to let the flavor of the ribs shine. He enjoyed them. As for the tacos, I enjoyed the taco al pastor, although I have to admit, it wasn’t nearly as good as the ones from hole-in-the-wall taquerias I’ve been to in Mexico. For a $4 taco, I expect more, but I guess I’m paying for the ambience.

The tinga was not a favorite of mine as the chicken seemed soggy and devoid of a distinctive taste. I know it wasn’t good since I had to slather it in slasa to enjoy it. By the time I got to the chorizo, I was full of chips and salsa and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it.

My wife had the other three tacos and she liked the shrimp taco but did not care for either of the others. The frijoles were simply beans and some meager bits of avocado and the rajas were overpowered by the mass of potatoes. She would have gone with three shrimp tacos in the future.

All in all it was an uneven experience. If the tacos had been more consistent and the price a bit lower, I would have given it a higher mark; however, given the high rent at Bayshore, I can understand the need to price their tacos higher. Go for happy hour and then eat elsewhere. Like Cempazuchi.

5750 North Port Washington Road
Glendale, WI 53217-4510
(414) 967-1451

M-Th 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat 11am to 1am
Sun 11am to 9pm
Happy Hour 4pm to 6pm Daily

  1. July 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I’ve never had a Coa cocktail before. That tempting photo and your food descriptions are making me drool. I have a feeling the mexican food we get in Singapore is not very authentic.

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