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Roberto’s Taco Shop: no me gusta 

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RY Rating: A Solid C-

I walked into a Roberto’s Taco Shop sober for the first time in my life last night, and it turns out everyone’s favorite taco spot just isn’t as good when you’re there for actual food.

Usually I just pick up a 3 a.m. burrito to wash the taste of someone else’s vomit out of my mouth, but I figured that Roberto’s deserved a real chance.

Speaking of throwing up, I would sincerely like to apologize to the staff at the Roberto’s for last Thursday’s incident. You guys know what I’m talking about. Special thanks to Maria for not calling the cops this time around.

I really don’t want to keep talking about puke, but can we just take a minute to acknowledge that there is a literal moat of vomit surrounding this place? That should be enough to turn away most decent people, but apparently Roberto’s has a pretty devoted customer base that just does not give a shit about their shoes.

Anyway, last night I walked into the Roberto’s across from campus, and after making sure that Maria wasn’t there, I put in my order.

The staff were nice enough, and didn’t say anything when I started eating straight out of the salad bar, but it took about three hours to get my food.

I usually stare food workers in the eye and try to convey my order to them with the power of my mind, but the staff at the Roberto’s on Maryland doesn’t seem to have the same level of ESP training that I expect from most fast food workers.

Eventually I had to just flat out SAY my order to the philistines behind the counter. Seriously Roberto’s, you need to learn that sober customers expect a lot more, as far as customer service goes.

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Let me give you a protip from a profesh food writer — always keep an eye on the people who are making your food. Personally, I don’t trust anyone in the service industry, and I won’t eat at places where I can’t actually watch them prepare my food or sneak into the kitchen.

A word to the wise: the staff at the Roberto’s across the street will NOT let you behind the counter, so you absolutely have to stay up front by the register and watch what’s happening in the gutted food truck interior they try to pass off as a kitchen

Roberto’s may not be the finest purveyor of Mexican cuisine, or the cleanest — while I was watching them make my chimichanga I’m pretty sure I saw a roach fall into the deep fryer — but kudos to the staff for not spitting in my food.

Aside from the fact that most of the food comes with a pool of old fryer oil (including chunks of other people’s orders) Roberto’s does have a pretty good selection of sides. In fact, during my three-hour salad bar visit, I filled up on so many pickled carrots and green things that I only took a few bites of my chimichanga.

The few bites I did get in included the cockroach that fell into the fryer, in case you were wondering.

I, for one, am glad that Roberto’s is acknowledging the nutritional benefits of common insects. There are cultures all around the world that indulge in all things creepy and crawly, and now UNLV students can get their 6-legged fix right across from campus. How hip! How progressive!

But honestly, Roberto’s I’m not sure what you’re trying to pull here. Your carne asada seems to be an amalgam of old boot leather and cat meat. I’m not exaggerating here — as a food writer I’ve had to eat both of those things, and that isn’t a taste you forget.

As I cut open my chimichanga to investigate further, I found the standard “filler” that a lot of restaurants use to keep ingredient costs low — mostly harmless stuff like sawdust, some of the more undesirable innards, and what appears to be a chunk of moldering rubber, from a tire or perhaps the sole of the aforementioned boot.

Well done Roberto’s, for using a marinade acidic enough to break all that stuff down into something that looks like normal meat and vegetables. In regards to the vegetables: I still haven’t really been able to figure out what they are exactly, but they seem organic.

If anyone is interested in trying to identify them, I’ve got everything in my freezer so that I can show it to the hospital staff after I send in this article. I’ve developed this weird wriggling sensation in my windpipe that just won’t go away. I try to be impartial though, so I’ll let you know in my next article if it’s related to my chimichanga or something else entirely.

I also discovered a pretty huge length of synthetic hair tangled around the bottom of the foil that they used to wrap the chimichanga, so if you’re a Roberto’s employee and you’re missing a piece of your weave feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll work on getting that back to you.

Anyway, try Roberto’s the next time you’re drunk and hungry. They probably won’t call the cops if you cause any trouble. The next time you’re sober and hungry, though, try somewhere else where you won’t remember the service and/or damage to your esophagus.

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