Trini’s Mexican Restaurant
1020 Howard Street
Cost: $75 for 2 appetizers, 3 drinks, 3 meals and 1 dessert
Reservations: Recommended for dinner. Limited seating.
Greetings, eaters and readers!
Needing to be downtown for a post-meal activity (see Flying Timber axe throwing), I chose Trini’s — located in the eclectic Old Market Passageway.
Joining us on this foodventure was my dearest friend from North Carolina, Andrea. A fan of trying new places herself, she was excited to dig in with us.
Spending a sunny summer Saturday (say THAT 5 times fast…) enjoying the Old Market all but requires ice cold margaritas. We each enjoyed a blended version of our chosen poison – they were standard and tasty, as margaritas go.
We wanted to see how well Trini’s handled the basics, so we kept it simple with our appetizers of house-made chips, salsa and guacamole. They all tasted fresh and – to my preference – not spicy. But for fans of a little more heat, you can add a dab of homemade table hot sauce to each bite, like Martha and Andrea did.
The fish tacos were the first thing on the menu and listed as “On our menu by popular demand.” Would I, too, demand this fish taco? I had to find out.
My singular taco (you can order 2) came with blackened tilapia, chipotle sauce, cheese, avocado, tomatoes and greens — all tucked inside a fluffy taco shell. It was light – and the chipotle sauce could’ve had more zing – but I thought it was flavorful enough. The black beans and white rice were a nice side alternative to your usual refried beans and Mexican rice combo.
So, would I demand this fish taco if they took it off the menu? No. But that’s because I prefer my fish battered and deep-fried. However, it felt like a healthier option than a lot of other Mexican food choices – which is appealing in and of itself.
Martha was drawn to the “puffy taco” concept the Trini’s menu boasted about, so she ordered the chicken version. Wondering if it was similar to the chalupa, she was pleased to see it was more substantial than the fast food concoction in her head.
Fresh ingredients smothered her plate: shredded cheese, avocado slices, green peppers and lettuce. She sprinkled on hot sauce as she worked her way through it to really bring it all together. Martha doesn’t care for black beans, but also doesn’t care for feeling like a child and having them left off her plate. So they sat there. ignored. Now she feels wasteful.
Overall, she thought the puffy taco was a fun, yummy plate. Not meant as a slight on their execution or recipes, Martha can’t say if Trini’s would be one of her recommended “OMG if you’re passing through Omaha and want Mexican you MUST visit…” places. Maybe she had the wrong dish? She knows she’ll return in the future to try something else and keep her mind and mouth open.
Andrea tried two tamales: Made from scratch with masa and enchilada style. Her first time trying tamales, she thought they were pretty good. The masa texture is unique, but she found it enjoyable. She preferred the enchilada style over the original, as it had more flavor. And while tamales may not be her new go-to Mexican dish, Andrea was glad she tried something new.
Fried ice cream? Yes please! Trini’s version of the vanilla scoop coated in sugary corn flakes quickly dipped in the deep fryer nestled in a crispy cinnamon sugar tortilla bowl and topped with chocolate syrup was — without a doubt — the perfect way to end our meal.
Our rating really comes down to this: Being in such an iconic Omaha location — the Old Market Passageway — we expected to have equally iconic food. Instead, we left Trini’s with a sideways fork because their menu didn’t redefine Mexican food for us. But we acknowledge the cute space, fresh ingredients and effort. We’ll be back to try more.
Martha and Jaclyn
Feature Image Credit: Yelp