I stumbled on Tacotarian’s Instagram feed in July thanks to Vegans, Baby. The images they were posting heralded a magnificent addition to the vegan and Mexican food scene in Vegas. I was excited but chose to temper that excitement and wait until all the kinks of new restaurant-dom were worked out, before planning my visit. Now that Tacotarian has been open for over a month, I finally made my maiden excursion to this new eatery.
When it comes to traditional Mexican color palettes, black white and aqua, is not what you would expect. But at Tacotarian they’ve managed to swirl the hipster, modern aesthetic with more classic, authentic elements to great effect. The result is a roomy and homey feel in a limited space. The major focal point is the counter, which is lined with patterned tiles crafted in Mexico. Additionally, there are plenty of Instagramable touches (including a sombrero photo opp) however, the design still feels authentic.
One glance at the menu reveals that, as the restaurant’s name implies, tacos are king in this establishment. I can’t remember the last time I saw fifteen unique taco options on a single menu. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many taco options before. The fact that they are all plant-based makes this menu even more amazing and exciting.
If tacos are not your thing (obviously something is terribly wrong with you) there are other Mexican favorites to try such as Flautas and Burritos. Along with those staples, the menu also features a snack section with dishes like Frito Pie or Asada Fries. The good people of Tacotarian have covered all their bases.
I ordered two tacos: Al Pastor and Chorizo. It was slightly overcast that day, so Sopa de Fideo seemed like a good choice as well. To round things out with an alcoholic beverage I added the Classic Margarita. The soup was exactly as I anticipated, hearty without being heavy, salty without overdoing it. A great start to a meal, especially as the weather gets cooler.
Next up was the Al Pastor, the meat substitute here was Seitan. The ‘meat’ itself was not particularly interesting, but the pineapple and pico harmoniously brought out a fresh tartness that elevated the taco’s flavor. Then it was time for Chorizo. Here the ‘meat’ was clearly the star, well seasoned with a simmering, mild heat. Between bites, I sipped my (strong) margarita and chair-danced to Latin American pop and rock hits of the 90s.
After the last morsel of Chorizo, I was left with the taste for more. I probably could have stopped eating and been relatively full, but why stop when you can keep going? Rich was praising the guacamole which came alongside his Flautas, so I decided to get an order of Chips & Guacamole. I can describe the dish in one word: fresh. Citrus notes popped delicately from the creamy guac and the chips played as the perfect vehicle with a satisfying crunch.
Eager to try more of the menu, we returned to Tacotarian the very next day (yep, it was that good.) This time I loaded up on tacos: Carne Asada, Gabacho, Barbacoa, and Plantain con Mole. The standouts for me were the Carne Asada and Gabacho. In both cases, the emphasis seemed to be more on seasoning the meat substitute and adding tasty supporting ingredients. Whereas the Barbacoa and Plantain con Mole (while still delicious) had heavier dressing which didn’t entice me as much.
The shift in focus for those two tacos is to be expected, as they are both named for their respective sauces. It’s a personal preference, but I enjoy street tacos more when sauce is used sparingly. This time, I also managed to squeeze in a Concha. At Tacotarian these pillowy sweet delights taste just as fantastic as they look. An indulgent ending to an extraordinary meal.
Going by Tacotarian’s slogan: Mexican food to feed the soul, I have a feeling my spiritual well-being is in very good hands. In tacos we trust.