Heartbreak comes in many forms. I’ve certainly experienced it when it comes to relationships, and I’ve felt it when a favorite haunt shutters. My heart was broken when Cask Republic South Norwalk closed. It was my spot back when it was The Ginger Man and that continued with it’s chic beer bar makeover. When the bad news got delivered to me, it was like the grim reaper stuck his sickle in my chest. Yeah, that kind of heartbreak. It hurt because G-Man, I mean, Cask, served many purposes for me. It was a place to try a rare beer, I’d go solo, I’d meet to talk business there, it was great for groups, to hang with a few friends, and for my one-and-done Tinder dates.
I still haven’t found its replacement. I may never.
There is, however, redemption, and its got nothing to do with beer, oddly enough. It has a lot to do with SKAL, the restaurant group behind The Ginger Man Greenwich, The Cask Republic, and the reason you’re still reading…Evarito’s.
Evarito’s is a switch from the other concepts. It’s not pub food, and there is not a focus on beer. It’s Mexican. And it took a while for Norwalk and Fairfield County as a whole to figure out what the hell is even was prior to its August 2018 opening. The wood stacked in the windows, the emoji fox with the hashtag #Hola, and the cryptic Instagram posts all added up to a big local mystery. Even I received a bunch of questions since apparently I’m supposed to know everything about my ‘hood. According to owner Christian Burns, it was all on purpose to get people curious.
When it was revealed on media night and subsequent soft opening nights thereafter, the mystery was solved. We finally got a look at this place that no one could see inside of for several months.
The custom murals, different types of low-hanging lights, the open kitchen, pops of turquoise booths that stand out. It’s a stunning looking restaurant. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, but my advice is to try to sit everywhere! The bar, the chef’s counter, by the fireplace in the dining room if it’s a chilly night. In the spring, they’re opening up a rooftop bar that will be slightly different from what’s available in the restaurant, so, booze and views will be something to look forward to!
Originally, though, Evarito’s—named after Burns’ son—was supposed to be Tex-Mex cuisine, an idea that was born from Burns’ trips to Texas where he managed The Ginger Man down there. That all changed when he fell in love with the authenticity of the food during his travels to Mexico.
Some of that food includes Mexican staples like enchiladas, gourmet three-bite tacos, tostadas, and plenty of vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes that even the most beastly carnivore will pick at. There’s also a focus on fresh seafood in oyster shooters, ceviche, and so on. Oh, and chips, which are fun, especially if you do the salsa tour where you can dip into seven different sauces with varying levels of heat and contrasting flavors. Get the fresh slapped, properly seasoned guac, too. I can’t get enough on a single chip.
Everything at Evarito’s is super fresh; ice cold seafood, homemade syrups for cocktails, ripe produce, and almost the entire menu is scratch made.
I’d like to break down everything on the menu, but this will be long enough without all that. You see, I’ve tried pretty much every single thing, so I’ll go with a select bunch that I either keep getting or keep running back in my head.
The lamb barbacoa tacos are likely the best I’ve had in CT. I’m not sure how they’re cooking the lamb—traditionally it’s in a pit with orange juice and other goodness—but it’s an ultra-tender prep served in a crisped tortilla shell with grilled onions and salsa roja. It’s probably Evarito’s best taco, and one I yearn to eat again.
If it’s a colder night, the Mayan pork rib (not pictured cuz I ate it too fast) will warm your soul. It’s basically a black bean stew with a big rib that forks apart. Disassemble it and slurp it all up, chicharrónes and all.
Should you be starving, even if you’re sharing, the fajitas are solid and plentiful. It’s the only nod to Tex-Mex on the menu because the meat and veggies are cooked on a wood-fired grill. It comes with a few sauces and a stack of fresh Nixtamal tortillas. Load ‘em up how you want, the self-assembly is part of the fun. That DIY approach is also true of the deconstructed al pastor tacos, pork and pineapple charred below the grill grates where the embers burn hot. I’d be good with just this on any given night.
Desserts, although I haven’t tried anything sweet here until recently, are worth a mention. Their take on tres leches is a less sweet, large and shareable treat that isn’t at all like the classic. It’s got layers, sort of like a trifle. Whatever you do, don’t sleep on Evarito’s churros. They have just the right amount of crunch to chew ratio, and lots of cinnamon sugar. I’ve only had better ones at Lorca.
I did want to save drinks for last. I’ve probably been to Evarito’s at least 10 times since they opened, and I can’t get away from their beverage program. I may not always eat here every time, but I damn sure do get at least a few drinks. As you can imagine, tequila and mezcal shine bright behind their bar. They have over 50 tequilas and they’re easily approaching that number with their mezcal list. Get into it. Learn. I’m certainly trying to educate myself more on agave spirits and having a good time doing so. They offer Mexican wine, popular south-of-the-border beers (and some craft stuff), but their cocktails keep me coming back.
The sting of losing Cask might never go away, but Evarito’s sure is easing the pain. I’ve told close friends or those seeking a recommendation that Evarito’s is my new favorite place to kick it in South Norwalk, so much so that going there has become an involuntary reaction.
Catch me at the bar and greet me properly.
14-16 N Main Street
South Norwalk, CT
(203) 939-9937; https://www.evaritos.com/