Pachuquena or Texana? JC King's Offers Abundant Torta Combinations
My mission: Try as many tortas as I could at JC King's Tortas, a small Mexican restaurant on Milwaukee’s South Side. What actually happened: I tried four, cried uncle and left stuffed and happy. There are 22 tortas to choose from on the menu, all with various combinations of meat. Each one comes standard topped with a smear of refried beans, lettuce, red onion, tomato, avocado, mayo and a choice of jalapenos or chipotle sauce for a little heat. I ordered the “chica” size, which corresponds to small, but is still pretty massive due to the fluffy, round telera roll. The larger “grande” size is served on an oval bolillo roll and is truly massive. Here's what I tried.
This was my favorite torta of the bunch. Big chunks of steak, thick bacon slices and lightly caramelized pineapple chunks are all held together by soft melted mozzarella cheese. What really set this torta apart from the others was the super delicious pineapple. It was lightly griddled with the steak pieces and bacon to give it more depth of flavor. If you like the combination of pork and pineapple, you can't go wrong with this one. The steak added substance and the bacon some smokiness. The mozzarella cheese had melted into a thick layer that held all the unruly toppings together into a kind of meat and pineapple patty, which was actually a great thing given that these sandwiches are pretty messy. Definitely try this torta.
My first of two tortas filled with milanesa, which is just a breaded and fried meat cutlet. This one is steak, topped with crumbled Mexican chorizo and melted brick cheese. The steak milanesa was super tender, much more so than I was expecting a well done piece of beef to be. Deep frying the meat brings a whole new level of sin to an already indulgent sandwich, but it's totally worth it. The beef wasn't greasy at all, and nice and crisp even under all the toppings. There wasn't a lot of chorizo present; just enough to impart the flavor without adding extra grease. Once again, the melted cheese was abundant and held things together.
This torta is filled with chicken milanesa. How can you go
wrong with fried chicken? Unfortunately you can if you top it with a hot dog.
Sure, the hot dog is split open and griddled nicely, but up against the freshly
fried chicken breast, a mere hot dog doesn't stand a chance. I ended up taking
it off. But the torta of chicken milanesa, chorizo and brick cheese I was left
with was awesome, so no harm no foul. There's a couple tortas that include a
hot dog. Only try one if you really, really want a hot dog—or maybe if you're
I just had to try the “vegetarian” torta with turkey as the
main ingredient. I should have skipped it altogether. The turkey was sliced
from a perfectly round loaf of deli meat into 1/4-inch slices. It was griddled
to get rid of some of the plastic taste and slimy texture, but that still
didn't make it appealing enough for me to eat. Fresh turkey or thinly sliced
deli meat would have been much better. There were also griddled orange bell
peppers and a thick slice of queso fresco which were very tasty and I rescued
to put on the other sandwiches. Just do yourself a favor and get any of the
other awesome tortas, especially ones with milanesa or pineapple.
JC King’s is located at 3128 S. 13th St. Be on the lookout for their food trucks if you can't make it into their restaurant. And if you're not in the mood for a sandwich, they also serve a full menu. I tried carnitas in a taco, and it was some of the best carnitas around.