The Student Voice of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School

BarTaco Takes Buckhead

April 22, 2015

BarTaco entrance

Nearly a year ago, the trendy northeastern coastal restaurant BarTaco opened its doors on the Westside. A huge hit, the restaurant has now expanded into Buckhead, centrally located  on Roswell Rd.

For natives familiar with the area, the atmosphere is shocking. What used to be a run-down Dunkin-Donuts is now a beachy, upscale Mexican eatery. Accompanied with an outdoor patio, fireplace, and white and blue paneling, the atmosphere makes guests feel as if they are in the Hamptons.

The outdoor patio has an outdoor fireplace, which is perfect for a summer night

The outdoor patio has an outdoor fireplace, which is perfect for a summer night

BarTaco takes on a different approach in terms of ordering and service. Rather than dictating your order to a waiter, you fill out a card and make notes for special requests. This concept has its pros and cons. While it decreases miscommunication between the customer and the server, it also puts more blame and pressure on the guest to write his or her desired order just right. In addition, customers can attach the “dragonfly card” to the stand whenever they want something from their waiter, which decreases the stress of looking for a waiter and getting his or her attention.

Customers place their order card on the stand for the waiter

Customers place their order card on the stand for the waiter

In terms of the food, BarTaco offers an eclectic range of tacos, appetizers, rice bowls, and sides. In addition, it offers “trays” to share, which include the chef’s selection of guacamole, tacos, tamales, and sides. In order to try a variety of what BarTaco had to offer, while also remaining economically sensitive, I ordered the small tray, which included a small guacamole to start, 6 tacos, 2 tamales, and 2 sides.

The small tray comes with 6 tacos, 2 tamales, and 2 sides

The small tray comes with 6 tacos, 2 tamales, and 2 sides

The guacamole was like no other. Its bold flavor and chunky texture created the perfect  start to the  meal. In addition, rather than serving a heaping of triangle-shaped tortilla chips, the guac came with three large circle chips, which could be broken up into smaller, bite-size pieces. While the shape of the chip does not make a difference flavor wise, it did make me more aware of the amount of chips I was eating, which my thighs appreciated.

The guacamole and chips are house made

The guacamole and chips are house made

Next came the tray whichconsisted of 2 baja fish tacos, 2 chicken tacos, and 2 sesame rib-eye tacos. These were accompanied by 2 tamales:  one pork and one  mushroom mole. Then, the two sides were a cup of chipotle slaw and a cup of spicy cucumber salad.

Starting with the tacos. These are not your typical Willy’s or Taxco Tacos, but rather a refined and sophisticated version. The baja fish taco was a fried piece of baja fish with slaw. Personally, I am not a huge fish person, so this taco was not my favorite. However, I appreciated the cohesiveness of the fish with the slaw, and the crispy outer layer. The chicken taco was delicious, but expected; it simply wasn’t exciting enough to make me jump out of my chair. But nevertheless, it was still extremely tasty. Last but not least, the sesame rib-eye taco. This mouthwatering steak was marinated in some sauce that was jaw-dropping. I am not exaggerating when I say I could eat this steak for the rest of my life and be content; it was phenomenal. So, of the tacos I tried, the steak was by far the best, then the chicken, and then the baja fish. However, there are 10 additional tacos on the menu, so there are still plenty more to try.

The chicken tacos are a crowd favorite

The chicken tacos are a crowd favorite

Now, on to the tamales. Unfortunately, I was too scared to try it. I did not have prior knowledge of what a tamale was, and after opening up the leaf wrapper and cutting into it, it did not seem appetizing to my culinary preferences. However, I have heard it through the grapevine that they are amazing, so you will need to go and try them yourself.

Lastly, the sides. The first side I tried was the chipotle slaw. This was a Mexican-inspired coleslaw, so in lieu of a thick and heavy mayonnaise, it was extremely fresh, which I imagine was some type of oil and vinegar. To kick it up a notch, the chef adds chipotle pepper, which gives the slaw the pop it needs to stand out. If you are a coleslaw fan, I highly recommend this one, which gives a new  take on an American classic. Second was the spicy cucumber salad. Like the baja fish, I honestly hate cucumbers, but I tried the salad anyway. This “salad” consists of 100% cucumbers with some sort of dressing and spice. If I did like cucumbers, I think this would’ve been a hit. However, unfortunately my taste buds could not get past my strong distaste for cucumbers, so it was a miss for me.

The cucumber salad is cucumbers topped with chipotle peppers and dressing.

The cucumber salad is cucumbers topped with chipotle peppers and dressing.

All in all, BarTaco is the perfect place to gather with friends this spring and summer to cherish great moments, and enjoy even better food. The service was top notch, the atmosphere was relaxing yet trendy and the food will leave you craving more.

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