What should we know about Just Chubby's?
Just Chubby's taco truck was a long held dream of 147 Deli's flavour master Barry Stephens, and was meant to open pre-covid. Almost two years later than billed, they finally opened their hatch outside Lotts & Co. in Clontarf in Summer 2022, and immediately queues and early sell outs became the status quo. While they initially parked their truck in front of the multi-coloured, specially commissioned mural, they're now inside the warehouse behind it, meaning cover and more seats.
What did you have?
There's tacos, sides and salsas which cost extra (more on that later). You're here for the tacos, and up until last spring they were €5 a piece, but they've risen sharply to €6.50. Assuming you'll want at least two, and maybe a salsa for each at an extra €2.95 a piece, you're looking at €20 before you've touched anything else. Comparing this with El Milagro's food truck in Herbert Park, where you'll get two tacos for €12 with your choice of salsa on the side for each, we're in the rafters here (and we've had many complaints about El Milagro daring to charge €6 a taco).
We tried all three, with the ale-braised pork marginally out in front. The sweet, tender meat comes with salsa verde and an onion/coriander mix on top for freshness, but we would have liked more salsa to drown it with. The chicken, with chipotle and honeyglazed red pickled cabbage, salsa verde and jalapeños needs a warning - we were almost crying trying to refill our water bottles. A particulary spicy batch of jalapeños maybe, but it was hard to taste anything during the brief period our taste buds were burnt off.
The veggie had charred sweet potato, onions, white cheese, epazote (a Central American herb) and chipotle salsa, and we really liked this too, with its milder spice and sweet/savoury flavours. What it was all missing though was free-flowing salsas. At almost €3 each it will chunk up the bill considerably to add a few to your order, and it was anathema to us not to include a small pot on the side, or offer a selection as a considerably cheaper add on - salsa is around 50% of the fun of eating tacos.
Corn ribs were put on the Dublin map by Big Fan back in 2020, and the ones here come deep-fried with chipotle butter, but when they arrived we realised we'd paid €8.95 for a single ear of corn. It was excellent corn, cooked but with crunch, doused in an earthy, smoky, sweet butter. but €9? That's a tough kernel to swallow. Big Fan's are €7.50 and it's a sit in restaurant.
The best thing we ate was the hand-cut nachos. A portion with just jalapeño cheese and salsa roja is €8.95, and adding on the same pork or chicken will add another €3.95 (so €12.90). We added the pork and it was a huge portion, the best value dish we had, with the nachos no relation to anything in a bag, and all the accompaniments being fought over by clashing crisps trying to scoop up as much as possible in one bite.
What is there to drink?
Soft drinks, water and a couple of craft beers. You won't be settling in for the night.
Why should I go?
Just Chubby's has a legion of fans travelling for their tacos each weekend, and if you're in the Clontarf area there aren't many better places to eat, but we're a long way from peasant food here - these are sit in, restaurant prices. If that works for you then go forth and chow down, but if you're one of the many feeling particuarly price sensitive at the moment, you may find €3 salsas and €9 corn push you over the edge.
46 Clontarf Rd, Clontarf, Dublin 3