The bartaco Do-Over

 

Sometimes third or fourth impressions are better than the others.
 A few years back I was pretty critical of bartaco and if I’m judging myself I was harsh. The short recap of that rant piece was based on people (some that I personally know) who raved about party/beachy vibe taco joint as if it was the best taco in the world. I took exception to that and flipped out a bit. To further back up my wild words, I mentioned—to a degree—that I hadn’t had over-the-top awesome food there in previous visits. After that I just stopped going.
But… life is about giving things, people, concepts, and ideas another shot. I’m always open to that even though there are plenty of women out there who will tell you I’m as stubborn as an angry bull, and that’s putting it lightly.
Mini “Polaroids” were a nice touch! Ha! Love it!
With bartaco, I actually jumped at the chance to return after a 2+ year hiatus from their food. The added incentive was that my pal, Adeline arranged the dinner and I knew she’d knock it out of the park with a good, fun experience, and she did. The few passed sides and chips with guac or salsa (or both) set the tone for a casual night out that felt more like a meetup than a blogger’s dinner. It does help that some of us know each other but still. And the margaritas to kick the evening off…never bad 😉
Yassss!

 

Salt? No salt? I don’t have a preference. I like booze tho.
Guac never lasts long.

Speaking of drinks, let’s start there. I honestly have always enjoyed bartaco’s boozy libations even when I didn’t love the tacos (more on that soon). Drinks like the Red Sonja, Port Chester Reviver, and Old Thymer (my personal fave) are all new cocktail menu additions and they were thought up and created by Barteca’s Wine & Spirits Director Gretchen Thomas. The focus of every cocktail isn’t just the alcohol part is the use of fresh squeezed juices and fresh herbs. The result? Each element can be tasted and others really pop. Additionally, since bartaco has that Mexi-Cali beach theme they have lots of tequila in stock and fans of the spirit will be happy to know that they only have 100% agave tequila, they also have around 50 or so different types, 20 of those being white tequilas or blancos. That, my friends, is a party.

 

(Left) Old Thymer (Four Roses Bourbon, Carpano Antica Vermouth, thyme, lemon, orange, angostura bitters) was strong and herbaceous. (Right) Red Sonja (Olmeca Altos Reposado, byrhh quinquina, ginger, jalapeño, lemon juice, peychaud’s bitters) was sweet, refreshing, and provided some heat from the jalapeño. (Bottom) PC Reviver (Martin Miller’s Gin, cucumber, mint, mango nectar, lime juice) is a balanced cocktail that you could throw back with ease.
Onto the food.
The sides, I’ve never had an issue with those, which was evident by the pound of guacamole I consumed on this night, and by the numerous sweet plantains I devoured. The tacos were my only real issue on previous visits. The reason? I visited when bartaco was in its infancy stage and I thought the basic chicken, pork, or beef with cilantro and onion were just basic.
Plantains for the win!

 

Scoop game.

 

 What’s cool is that bartaco has gotten a whole lot more creative with their tacos. My personal favorite is the pork belly that’s a bit sweet and a bit spicy, but the pork is tender. I’m quite certain I ate nearly half a dozen during this meal. Another notable two-bite taco was the sesame ribeye (jicama kimchi) that captured the Asian flavors quite well. One that was a hit with the group was March’s secret taco—that’s not that much of a secret—the deep fried avocado (pickled red onion, cilantro) that was crispy on the outside with that creamy avocado underneath that you’d expect but somehow still hits you as a nice surprise. If the avocado taco makes the menu permanently it should be a hit with vegetarians and even a few of you meat eaters might sneak one on your taco tray too 🙂
OMG. Pork belly.

 

OHHHH LAWWWDDD! Ribeye…

 

Deep fried avocado. HOLY F*CK!

 

Again! DAMMMMMNNNN!
It took me a while to warm up to bartaco and I’m thrilled they’ve evolved and gotten more creative over time. I tried, tried, and tried again and I’m glad I did. bartaco has gained a fan. Tacos, anyone?
bartaco
Multiple locations (this review was of the Westport restaurant)
Twitter: @bartacolife

Instagram: @bartacolife

See you soon, bartaco 😛

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