I was down in Bonita recently with my stomach growling...it was time for lunch. Sadly, the place I had wanted to grab a bite had wasn't open, so I decided to head back up the 805. right before hitting the freeway I noticed this shop......Memelas & Thai Bistro...hmmmm......Mexican and Thai, huh?
I thought why not?
The interior has a rock music theme...which is interesting...Mexican-Thai-Rock n Roll... It does look like one of those modern fast-casual shops. The music is a bit on the loud side, but not intolerable.
The menu is basically Mexican or Thai, half a page of Mexican items the other half Thai. There were very few items that I'd call "fusion" other than throwing some sate chicken on a tortilla and such.
I was tempted to order a memela, basically a pizza like masa "cake", much like a huarache, originally from Oaxaca, topped with mole negro, black beans, guacamole, and queso fresco. But I wanted to get a feel for the various protein options so I went with some tacos......especially since I was told that the tortillas were hand made.
They were out of one of my choices, so I asked the friendly young lady for a recommendation. She told me the Shrimp taco was excellent, so that's what I added to the Satay Chicken and "New York Steak" (carne asada) tacos I ordered.
The batter of the Shrimp Taco ($2.75) was pretty gummy and soggy, mostly batter, without very much flavor. The crema seemed heavy on the mayo. The tortillas were kind of disappointing being very gummy and doughy, lacking in a good masa flavor. Didn't care much for the iceberg lettuce either.
The Satay Chicken ($2.50) combined with some nice crisp items seems like a natural for a taco.
But I didn't think this was particularly good. A sparse amount of tasteless chicken with a runny, overly sweet "satay like" sauce. This needed some "umph" to really get going and perhaps a crisp bed of cabbage as well.
The best of the three was the New York Steak taco ($2.25), the house version of carne asada.
The beef had a mild chew but was tender enough for tacos, this was nicely seasoned as well. It went well with the cilantro and onions, though I wish the place would just give you a condiment tray and let you dress the tacos yourself. This was nicely done.
Nice service, prices are decent, but there wasn't anything that really stood out about the food. In fact, I thought the shrimp and the chicken satay tacos were below par in terms of flavor, portion, and presentation. This one is pretty much a "one and done" for me.
Memelas & Thai Bistro
3001 Bonita Rd
Chula Vista, CA 91902