Call me a late bloomer, but I didn't discover the Shrimp Tempura Taco until a year or so ago. Now I am in love with them. Though I know grilled shrimp is way healthier, blah blah blah, I wholeheartedly prefer the crunchiness of the tempura battered shrimp with the freshness of the cabbage and creaminess of the sauce all wrapped in a warm corn tortilla. And with seafood tacos, you really have to go with corn tortillas; I think it might actually be a law. Anyway, after having a major craving, I decided to try out both Berryhill and El Rey on consecutive days and do a comparison of their shrimp tempura tacos. Let's see how these heavyweights stacked up against one another.
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Berryhill's "Crispy Shrimp" taco (seen above) is described as "tempura fried shrimp with red cabbage, remoulade sauce and cilantro". It sells for a whopping $3.99 a taco or $10.99 for 2 tacos plus rice and beans. The taco came out steaming hot and wrapped in foil. The first thing I noticed was that it was a massive taco with a good amount of big, crispy shrimp and lots of cabbage. The sauce was good, but there wasn't much of it. I didn't even notice the cilantro. The shrimp were folded into a double layer of corn tortillas, which were exceptionally bland and almost soggy. I did enjoy the shrimp, but the trimmings were so tasteless that I ended up picking out the shrimp and leaving the rest.
El Rey got points instantly for having a convenient drive thru. It was pouring down rain outside and I was extremely happy to get a decent meal without having to leave the comfort of my dry car. Each taco was a more reasonable $2.35. I got a couple and drove on into the deluge. I noticed that though the tacos were not quite as large as Berryhill's, they were still two corn tortillas overstuffed with plenty of crispy shrimp, red cabbage, and creamy cilantro sauce. I should mention that these are not particularly good for eating on the road. The shrimp tend to fall out and the cabbage gets everywhere. I was impressed with the plentiful amount of shrimp, but I thought the abundance of red cabbage was a bit overkill. It overpowered the taco, so I had to take some off. The cilantro sauce was amazing, better than the remoulade, but it was such a scant amount, it left me wanting more. The corn tortillas were better, though still a bit bland. I am very picky about my tortillas though.
The winner: I have to go with El Rey, but just by a little. The cilantro sauce was better than Berryhill's remoulade. Both tacos were very good though, especially in terms of the shrimp tempura. If you're looking for a good shrimp tempura, either one would make a decent choice but you might have to bring your own tortillas and ask for extra sauce if you're wanting something really amazing.