Sunday, January 11, 2015

Taco Hunt: Tacombi at Fonda Nolita | Nolita

For my first review I decided to check out Tacombi at Fonda Nolita after a friend (thanks, Steven!) recommended I give it a try. Having checked out their website and other online reviews, I must admit I was a bit skeptical… the "authentic" flavors meet the hip vibe? Sounded too good to be true. Regardless, after enduring a slightly painful (hint: 20 degree weather with crazy winds) walk from the East Village to Elizabeth Street in Nolita, it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

Immediately after walking in we were transported to a traditional Mexican mercado (street market) complete with concrete floors, puestos (vendor booths), brick walls covered in white paint and hand-lettered logos, and not to be forgotten... a taco-vending combi! If you're not already aware of the play on words used in their name, "tacombi" is a blend of taco and combi: an old-school VW bus. You read that right,  a real-life taco-vending bus indoors! My grandpa, who has owned a combi in Mexico since the seventies would be all over this!

After getting over the initial oohs and ahs, my friend Suzanne and I were promptly seated toward the front of the restaurant and offered both the weekend breakfast menu and regular lunch/dinner menus. Both menus consisted of a wide selection of traditional offerings: tacos, antojitos (small cravings or appetizers), aguas frescas, Mexican beer, cocktails, and more.

Alright, time to talk about food! As always, I was a bit indecisive since I wanted to try everything, but ended up going with three tacos and a michelada. First up was the pollo adobo taco: pulled chicken seasoned in a tomato and chile sauce topped with a salsa verde and avocado. The chicken was nice and juicy thanks to the sauce it was seasoned in and although the flavors were a bit mild, the salsa verde was the perfect topper. Next came what ended up being my favorite, the barbacoa taco: slow-cooked pulled brisket topped with diced onion and cilantro. I added some of their Vista Hermosa chile de arbol salsa and a squeeze of lime and let me say, it was tasty! My last pick was the crispy fish tacos: battered fish with a chipotle mayonnaise sauce topped with pickled cabbage. My mom's side of the family is from Baja California so when it comes to fish tacos, my standards are set pretty high. Clearly, this is also true for the folks at Tacombi. Though I wish this taco would have included diced tomatoes like I'm used to, everything else was pretty spot on – perfect golden crisp, fresh fish, and paired great with the chile de arbol salsa – a close second place to the barbacoa taco.

Overall Tacombi was the perfect mix of authentic Mexican flavors packaged in a creative and modern way. Despite my initial skepticism, I am sold and would definitely recommend this place for a quick bite, gatherings with a small group, or after work drinks and appetizers!


So, what did you think? Did you like the review? Are you going to give Tacombi a try? Do you already have a Tacombi favorite? I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below or you can tweet me at @mromja.

Thanks for reading!

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