Once we set foot into Najavo Hogan’s establishment, smoky from all the fried tacos they had been making, we were told that they were closing for the night. After seeing the shock on our faces and acknowledging that their (albeit outdated) website and Google listing said they stayed open until 8pm, not 7:00, the owner decided to allow us to order. Unsurprisingly, we were completely rushed through our ordering, curtly prompted by “yes” or “no” questions. Certainly there was no interest in up-selling any product – we were a burden, not valued customers.
So, what did we all order? We ordered the only thing that was truly being offered to us: fry bread tacos with our choice of chicken or beef. How did it look? The presentation wasn’t anything special. It was simple, almost what you’d expect on the side of the road taco stand, but with a thicker tortilla. To our relief, the Navajo taco looked exactly like the picture that was placed right next to the register – bubbly fry bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, some tasty looking salsa, beans and ground beef. I knew what I was going in for. Or did I?
The ingredients didn’t exactly taste the freshest. My guest felt like we got leftovers. Since Navajo Hogan was ready to close maybe they did bust out the day’s leftovers. The food was greasy, salty, and for the lack of a better word – blah. In fact, I should have been a horse, because I felt like I was licking a salt block. Where was this sodium coming from? No, not the bread. Nope, not the meat. Was it the beans? They didn’t taste canned, so…just too much of a generous tip into the pot? It was so salty that I didn’t even finish my taco. I left hungry. Major bummer.
The question now becomes: Did we get an authentic Navajo Hogan experience? Would we order a taco again? The verdict: we are toying with the idea to give Navajo Hogan the benefit of the doubt, return another (earlier) time to see if the tacos could be as good as we’d hope.
Even though I am a snob, I do admire places that are holes in the wall – when they have some grub that shouts out to the world, “We know what we are doing” and “We are dedicated to what we are making.” Without any hesitation, I would qualify Navajo Hogan as a hole in the wall, with its simple decorations that provide a little bit of Native American culture. However, the place could have benefited from a good scrub, straightening up, paint touch up, and the like. It would have been a nice gesture if the owner had stopped hovering around us and decided to take out the trash or something, instead of just calling it good after a shift. That being said, it’s difficult to want to return when it doesn’t seem like any new investment is going into this once “flourishing” place that has been “frequented by people from all over the world,” as noted on their website. Where did all the hard work and love go?
No doubt Navajo Hogan is unique. Simply put, I wish I would have been able to try some other goods that they offered, such as the sweet fry bread, but since I didn’t feel like I had a choice or even the luxury of time to inquire about it, my experience here was an all around disappointment. I’m trying hard to pretend that this wasn’t such a pushy and let down experience. Instead, I keep on daydreaming that Navajo Hogan is a worthwhile diamond in the rough to check out. But then, I am quickly reminded that it probably isn’t worth returning, as our favorite part of our visit was identifying money from around the world that was displayed on the counter, which had nothing to do with the food or service!
Rating – They should be the next contestant on Kitchen Nightmares.