Originating in either San Felipe or Ensenada, Mexico in the late 1950's, fish tacos are a subcategory of taco unto themselves, with fillings that can include any number of fish or shellfish. Brass Knuckle's version of the beach staple is the Prawns N' Roses, featuring a shaggy-haired piece of prawn as the screeching lead singer and a bold yet cool cilantro creme laying down the guitar riffs.
The Prawns N' Roses starts with a good-sized prawn battered and rolled in kataifi. Kataifi is a kind of shredded phyllo dough which is usually made into pastry by soaking it in syrup. When wrapped around a prawn and deep fried, however, it resembles crispy vermicelli noodles. Even though the prawn is fried, the airiness of the coating lends a bit of delicacy and keeps it from becoming too heavy or greasy. The crunch of the kataifi is augmented by some shredded cabbage and green onions. There is a little heat from some diced jalapenos, but it pretty much stays in the background like an Izzy Stradlin rhythm guitar.
The result of all of this is a fish taco that looks like a bit of mayhem but tastes familiar and comforting. There is plenty of crunch, some creaminess, a little spicy kick and strong prawn flavor. I would have appreciated a tad more salt and a wedge of lime, but this is a fun interpretation on the fish taco from Brass Knuckle. They would do well selling it to the surfers coming in from Ocean Beach.
Note: while the photos in this article show two tacos, an order consists of a single taco. We used our illusion.
Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)
Brass Knuckle (@brassknucklesf) $3.50 for one taco
Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!