Mex Near the Red-Light: Soi Cowboy

Hey folks, how’s it hangin? It’s me, Seven. I’m living the Thailand dream and bringing it to you, just in case you can’t get here for whatever reason. Today’s offering is a review of Mexican restaurants, rated in the order of their proximity to Soi Cowboy. I’ve already done this for Nana Plaza and Patpong, both of which you can find elsewhere on this website. As usual, the food pictured is the actual food I ate. So without further ado, here we go.

The Slanted Taco. Distance from the RLD: 110 meters. If you exit the back of Soi Cowboy on Sukhumvit 23, turn left, cross the street, and walk down about a block, you’ll find it. It’s tucked behind Craft. It’s small, rarely crowded, and not well lit, but who cares about that, right? It’s the food that matters, and the food is good. Not just good for Thailand, but actually good Mexican food. I’ve been twice. The first time I had the beef-n-mushrooms enchiladas (300b), and the second, the nachos (320b) and carnitas tacos (250b). And of course a Margarita rocks. Everything was terrific. The tortillas were right, the salsas were right, the meat was seasoned and cooked correctly. The black beans were nearly perfect, as was the Spanish rice. High marks all around, and props to the chef for making really tasty food. The downside is the price tag, which is a tad steep. Their margarita rocks was delicious and 320b.

Seven gives The Slanted Taco an 8 for food and a 6 for the high prices.

Charley Brown’s Mexicana. Distance from the RLD: 300 meters. Across the road and around the corner, past Terminal 21 is Charley Brown’s. It’s on a side alley off Sukhumvit Soi 19. It’s super trendy, and really popular with American expats, which of course is horrid. But it might be worth enduring the throngs of idiots for some great Mexican food. They have two menus—well actually, it’s the same menu two ways. One is the regular kind, printed on paper. The other is a picture slideshow menu on a tablet, so you can see what you’re ordering. Nice touch. I got 3 tacos a la carte: pulled pork in a hard shell (120b), prawn in a soft shell (120b), and Baja fish (130b), also in a soft shell. I order the latter because the owner said his chef was from Cabo San Lucas, and as an L.A. native, that peaked my curiosity. Pacific coast Mexican fare? Yes, please.

I arrived on a rainy Friday night just before the end of happy hour, so I quickly got a half price margarita (105b). It was great—tasty both with and without salt. Then I screwed up. A waitress asked if I was ready to order. I had my headphones in, so I misunderstood. I though she said “Have you ordered yet,” so I said “Not yet” which she took to mean I wasn’t ready to order yet. It was my mistake. It then took about 10 minutes to flag someone down and order, and another 20 for the food to come out, so I was famished by the time the tacos arrived. They provided free chips and salsa (Danita chips from Villa Market), and I tore through those. Then when the food was finally in my mitts, I inhaled it. First, the pulled pork taco. It would’ve been perfect had the chef not added Thai chilies. They about scorched my face off, and didn’t match well with the sweetness of the pork. I guess it was meant to be some kind of fusion thing, but for me, it didn’t work. Next, I had the prawn taco, which was terrific. The prawn were fat, sweet, and juicy, and it was perfect except for the dollop of cheese they put on it. I guess that’s to please the ignorant Eurotouorists who’s too stupid to know that cheese doesn’t belong on a prawn taco. Finally, I ate the Baja grilled fish taco, which was less Mexico and more Malibu, but was still great except for the cheese, and for some odd reason a pile of pink onions on top. Only a nitwit wants cheese on their fish taco. So the overall impression of the food is—Charlie Brown’s is great, and I’d definitely go back if it weren’t for the obnoxious clientele. The loud, boorish Americans were actually drowned out by the even louder, cruder Brits. One Essex lass was actually yelling at the top of her lungs, intent on telling her friends a story about some girl’s awful boyfriend. She was three tables over, and I had my headphones in, and I still heard the story. Maybe next time I’ll bring ear plugs.

In spite of their missteps, Seven gives Charley’s an 8.


Sunrise Tacos Terminal 21. Distance from the RLD: 350 meters. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t try it. I mean, I ate there once a few years ago, and it was average. You pretty much know what you’re getting when you eat at a Sunrise. I’ve tried four of them in BKK, and the best one is in Silom.

Unless a new chef has magically turned things around in the last three years, Seven rates it a 6.

Cali-Mex Sukhumvit Soi 22. Distance from the RLD: 600 meters. On the corner of Suk Soi 22 and Sukhumvit Road is the flagship location of the newest Mex chain in Thailand. They hail from Hong Kong, and while they do do a few things right, there’s a lot they get wrong as well.

First and worst is the propensity to put sauces and salsas into tiny bowls, which make it virtually impossible to transport said sauce from the bowl to the food. One ends up scraping the edge of the bowl with a knife in order to ineffectively dab ineffectual drops onto a morsel before biting. It’s an exercise in frustration. Charlie Brown’s did the same thing. Another absolute sin is the presence of dark green leafy lettuce in their burritos. No self-respecting Mexican puts lettuce in a burrito. That’s Taco Bell-level absurdity. My last tiff, again, concerns the price. A bit audacious, if you ask me. But let’s cleanse our palate of bad vibes and talk about what’s good:

The margarita (249b) was awesome. It was the highlight of my meal. They don’t skimp on alcohol, and good alcohol, at that. Just scrumptious. And the flavors worked on all levels (barring the lettuce). I got a Barbacoa beef burrito, and loved every bite (barring the lettuce). They even did a great guacamole. I just don’t think it was worth what I paid (399b). The meal was plus-plus, so for a burrito and a margarita, the bill was a little over 800 baht. Unseemly.

Because of the price and the frigging lettuce, Seven gives it a 5. But for those crimes, Cali-Mex would’ve earned an 8. It’s a shame, but you know what they say: two wrongs make a 5.

Thus ends the list of Mexican joints near enough to walk from Soi Cowboy. I hope it helps you in your quest for good Mex near the red-light. Check back soon for a new review., and here’s to another day above ground. Cheers.