By Dr. Ink
Some elements of Primos Mexican Food & Bar are brand new. Others not so much compared to when the establishment operated earlier this year as Primos Public Corner.
Since reopening a few months ago under the new name, the owners initially introduced happy hour Sunday through Thursday, slashing the prices of all drinks by 50 percent.
That changed, however, on the early December day I ducked in for a cheap nosh and drink.
Now, happy hour is Monday through Friday — still from 2 to 6 p.m. except for all day on Wednesdays.
And the bargains are a little different, yet equally enticing to Fenton Marketplace shoppers who might have blown too much money at Costco or Ikea across the parking lot.
Well drinks, margaritas, Micheladas and draft beer cost $4.50, while trios of supreme taquitos or a pair of tacos with chicken, beef or fish are an easy $4. Ditto for a half order of chipotle-bacon fries.
Chips, fried pork skins and several salsas are for the taking at an open station where you’ll also find brined carrots and roasted peppers. Also new is the elimination of full wait service in areas outside the bar lounge.
If you want to loll over a margarita made with Rancho Alegre Tequila or a Tangerine Express beer from Stone Brewing Company on a table in the back rotunda section or the roomy outdoor patio, you’ll have to order and fetch it yourself at the bar. No big deal.
I perched in the bar area on one of several high tops and amid a barrage of sports games and commentary shows playing on flat-screen televisions. Thankfully the sound was off. A playlist of contemporary Latin music filled the place instead, prompting me to order a margarita.
The young, female bartender doubling as a waitress in the lounge area explained with excitement that the “marg mix” is made in-house. It blends orange and lime juices with a touch of simple syrup — exactly how I like them. Served in a tall, slosh-less glass, which I also prefer opposed to chalice versions, I opted for a pair of fish tacos as well.
The deep-fried fish fillets were encased heavily in batter, but they weren’t shamefully greasy. The cabbage was fresh and crisp, and the peppery aoili was a zesty departure from traditional white sauce. Something about their overall quality seemed better compared to when I ate them during the restaurant’s previous incarnation.
The tortillas chips at the salsa bar were more appealing too. They were thinner, fresher and lacked the weird seasoning I remember from my visit last winter.
Aside from happy hour, Primos offers all-you-can-eat tacos for $10 on Tuesdays. Combine that with the drink specials during happy hour and you’ll luck out with one of the most indulgent deals Mission Valley has to offer.
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.