By Vanessa Wolf
Jorge is Spanish for George, Jorgito means “little George” and Horhito means … errr … we have no idea.
Has the name been gringo-ized for Maui? Is it some kind of nod to Japan’s longest-reigning monach, Hirohito? Do we overthink almost everything?
Probably, but nonetheless, Horhitos Taqueria – much like the name implies – isn’t quite Mexican.
The good news is they seem to realize that as well.
Whether Mexican-fusion, Maui-mex or Hawaiican – call it what you will – it was the constant crowds outside this semi-permanent food truck that first piqued our interest.
After perusing our options posted on the side of the vehicle, we got the party started with the Fish Wrap ($9).
Fish Wrap, you say?
Right there you know this ain’t no hardcore take-no-prisoners Mexican fare, ese.
But it’s not fronting like it is either. Horhitos is the Cabo San Lucas of Mexican offerings: cleaned up, toned down and eerily reminiscent of Southern California.
By any other name a Fish Burrito, understanding the contents of the wrap posed a bit of a challenge.
“Is says the wrap is made with white fish …?”
“So what kind of fish is white fish?”
“Is that like tilapia?”
“For $1 more you can have ono or mahi mahi.”
We chose the former and found our Ono Wrap ($10) to have a generous portion of well-prepared, but under-seasoned fish inside.
In proper gringo fashion, it also comes with romaine lettuce, tomato and shredded orange cheese, but the accompanying container of salsa – you have to ask for it – helps add a touch of tacqueria authenticity to each bite.
Near the bottom of the burrito … errr … wrap, we discovered a wellspring of creamy, spicy sauce that added the piquancy we’d been missing.
The Shrimp Wrap ($9) is similar, but we’d wised up since our last visit. After redistributing the chipotle mayo throughout the inside and adding some Cholula hot sauce from the counter, it was a flavorful fusion of Surfin’ USA meets South of the Border flavors.
The wraps arrive accompanied by a generous portion of Caesar salad. It’s about as basic a rendition as you can find while still qualifying as a Caesar: romaine lettuce, dressing, and a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan. We found it crisp, fresh and more enjoyable than rice, beans or the typical accompaniments you might expect.
One thing to note: bring your paper money, because they don’t accept cards or checks.
Horhitos offers five varieties of tacos a la carte and if there is one wholehearted endorsement we can give, the price is right.
That stated, the Steak Taco ($2) arrived on a desiccated double layer of corn tortillas. The meat itself was dry and lacked much flavor, but we appreciated the authentic cilantro, onion and lime garnish little knowing it was the last we’d see of such touches.
You say you’re in the mood for some shredded cabbage, pickled jalapenos, roasted tomatillo guacamole or grilled chipotle salsa? Fuhgettaboutit.
Horhito keeps it American like the cheese.
The Pork Taco ($2) also arrives on corn tortillas and somehow the meat was at once overcooked, but oily. The generous portion of pico de gallo helps a little, but not enough that we can recommend this one.
The Shrimp ($3) and Mahi Mahi ($4) Tacos were fairly interchangeable, much like the wraps, their kissing cousins.
Prepared on a flour tortilla, they’re a little bit larger than the corn offerings with a fair amount of fish or shrimp, a boatload of shredded romaine, and some shredded cheese and chopped tomatoes. We thought it was supposed to come with chipotle mayo, but no hay.
Nonetheless, a palatable snack for $3? Definitely.
Authentic taqueria flavor? Not even close.
The tacos and the wraps seemed to be one in the same minus the lack of chipotle mayo on the tacos. Make your choice based on your hunger level, desire for a barebones Caesar salad and/or need for a mayo fix.
The Chicken Taco ($2) was by far our favorite. The usual lettuce, tom, cheese suspects once again appear, this time on a double corn tortilla. The well-seasoned, juicy chicken and the liberal helping of their chipotle mayo made this the stand out taco of the bunch and at $2 apiece even the skinflints in the crowd can afford a few of them.
Again, it is what it is.
Don’t step onto Horhito’s astroturf lawn expecting deeply developed layers of flavor like you’d find at a taco shack in Veracruz, Guadalajara or even Portland and you’ll be fine.
That stated, we figured we might as well take a hint and sample a local-style offering.
The BBQ Pork Burger ($8) comes with chips, rice or macaroni salad.
Perhaps not surprisingly – this appears to be what Horhito is truly skilled at – the “burger” was great.
The moist, saucy pulled pork piled onto the soft onion bun resulted in one of the better iterations we’ve had.
They were out of mac salad, so we chose rice, which was … rice. Whenever you want to eat 700 of the same thing, it’s got you covered.
All told, if you’re in the mood for a wrap and a salad or a local-style plate lunch, Horhitos is a consistently fresh and affordable choice.
Horhitos Mobile Taqueria serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is located at 1941 S Kihei Rd. next to the Kihei Marketplace and across the street from The Cove.