Although I’ve been meaning to visit Torchy’s Tacos since their grand opening back in September, I just now got around to doing it this weekend, and I am vigorously kicking myself for missing out on all the delicious tacos I could have been eating for the last three months. If you haven’t experienced Torchy’s yet, cancel whatever you had planned for dinner and rectify this situation immediately. I mean it.
It’s no exaggeration to say that I was impressed with every aspect of my visit to Torchy’s. These tacos aren’t your standard ground beef and lettuce concoction shoved into a cardboard-like crispy shell. The menu offers many different filling and sauces, all wrapped up with fresh veggies in a homemade corn or flour tortilla. Whether you’re in the mood for brisket, fried shrimp, seared tuna, or even Jamaican jerk chicken, one of the specialty tacos is sure to sound appealing. I ordered the Democrat (beef barbacoa, avocado, cilantro, onion, queso fresco, and tomatillo sauce) and the Independent, which consists of black beans, fried portobello mushrooms, and a multitude of fresh veggies, and both were outstanding.
The filling on the tacos is so plentiful that it can be hard to eat them without making a mess. Pro-tip: if you order the corn tortillas, the tacos come double-wrapped and can easily be split into two more manageable servings. My companion had the Baja Shrimp taco and the Crossroads, stuffed with smoked brisket, both of which he graciously let me try. I could have easily devoured a basket of the fried shrimp all by itself, but combined with crisp slaw, cilantro, chipotle sauce and queso fresco, it was a veritable shellfish masterpiece. The Crossroads, while very good, was probably the least impressive of the bunch. Torchy’s barbacoa is better than their brisket, if you’re in the mood for beef. Be sure to start with an order of green chile queso dip or homemade guacamole and a basket of chips.
Although I’m not usually much of a soda drinker, I was kicking myself when I got to the soda fountain to fill my water glass and saw that instead of the usual Pepsi or Coke branded assortment, Torchy’s offers gourmet Maine Root sodas made from natural cane sugar in flavors like black cherry, blueberry, root beer, Mexican Cola, and ginger brew. Had I known these were available, I would have gladly ordered a fountain drink and welcomed the extra calories.
On the subject of extra calories- I really, really, really wanted to sample the “nookies” (fried chocolate chip cookie dough balls) but alas, my kitchen is full of holiday baked goods already and I just couldn’t justify buying yet another dessert with so many sweets at home. Several tables seated nearby ordered them and they looked and smelled amazing, so I will definitely be ordering them in the future when my pantry isn’t full of leftover Christmas candy.
Overall, I think Torchy’s Tacos is a fantastic addition to the Heights restaurant scene, and I’ll be returning regularly. The casual and fun atmosphere is family friendly but plenty grown-up enough for a laid-back date or evening with friends, and the full bar offers margaritas, bottle and draft beer, and whatever else you might be in the mood for. In my opinion, the simple motto “Damn Good” painted under a picture of Torchy the cartoon devil is dead on.
For more information, please visit: www.torchystacos.com