During a dreary Wednesday afternoon, I paid the restaurant Vagabond a visit. Formally known as Rudy’s Mexican restaurant, this urban and eccentric restaurant is located on the lower east side of Milwaukee. Keeping to the menu offerings of its successor, Vagabond offers its own twist to well-known Mexican favorites, such as spicy pork verde enchiladas, street tacos and burritos.
I liked the edgy, street-inspired design within the restaurant, from the worn steel top tables to the graffiti that included images of MC Hammer and Pac-Man. It even had a food truck that functioned as a sit-in bar!
With the sounds of Bruno Mars’s funky vocals echoing from the old school boom box, I picked up my menu and began to order. Here’s what I ordered.
Price: $7.35 (substitution of duck for $1.90)
Ingredients: homemade tortilla chips, pork carnitas, cowboy beans, Chihuahua cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, serrano sour cream and shredded lettuce.
Thoughts: This was the highlight of my meal. I substituted the pork with duck, which was extremely tender and seasoned to perfection. It was also a great complement to the flavors offered within the dish and had characteristics that typical meats such as chicken or beef don’t have. The one drawback was that there was way too much lettuce and not enough of the duck and other toppings.
Street Tacos: Mango Shrimp and Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Price: $4.19 for the Mango Shrimp and $3.85 for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken: jerk chicken, sautéed peppers and onions, curry aoli and pineapple guacamole.
- Mango Shrimp: aji rojo, cilantro and mango salsa.
Thoughts: Though the street tacos are the restaurant’s most popular dish, these were a bit of a miss for me. I did enjoy the fieriness of the Jamaican jerk chicken, but I wasn’t too keen on the taste of the mango shrimp. When they were brought out to me, they were already colder than room temperature. Since the place was experiencing a sluggish lunch hour, I couldn’t really justify the state of my tacos.
Overall, I would give the restaurant 4 out of 5 stars. Despite the outcome of my tacos, the service was top of the line and the hipster decor throughout definitely made my trip worth it.
For more information on Vagabond, visit http://www.vagabondmke.com/.