Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer, the owners of Barcelona, the wine and tapas bar with six locations in Connecticut – opened bartaco (Twitter handle: @bartacoPC), a bar and taco restaurant in Port Chester, NY on December 27th. In several months, a second location will be opened in downtown Stamford, CT.
As soon as you step in, you’re instantly whisked to a beach-shack, not your typical Tex-Mex restaurant. I no longer felt like I was in NY/CT, but maybe in Provincetown, MA or somewhere along the shores of New England.
bartaco Margarita – Made fresh…very sour. A little too sour for my liking. Just ask the bartender to sweeten it up with more agave syrup. Like what our waiter said – if there’s anything wrong, just ask.
Winter Caipirinha – a blend of Leblon Cachaca, muddled limes, and pomegranate juice. Excellent drink, more on the sweeter side.
My favorite was the Smoky Cholula. As what the name says, it’s a smoky drink made with mezcal, guava nectar and lemon. A little on the strong side, but pairs well with the tacos and tamales. I highly recommend this drink, especially if you don’t mind a little smoke in your beverage.
|Ordering is easy – place your blue card up
when you fill out your order card.
They also have a nice selection of wine and a beer if you’re not a fan of cocktails.
When you order your meal, just fill out the order card on your table and affix the blue logo card onto the cardholder. The waiter will come by and take your order card. This reminded me of a churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) where they have the red/green painted thread spool – red means stop; green means go. You can view a sample order card on their website.
We ordered the Large Tray - the chef’s selection of 8 tacos, 4 tamales, 3 sides, and a serving of guacamole with 4 fried tortillas. Excellent deal for $25. Side tidbit: I was told this was a recent addition to the menu.
All tacos are served on a small tortilla. My favorite was the chorizo taco. Chunks of chorizo (separated from the casing) with onions and cilantro paired well with the smoked chipotle sauce and, if you’re brave, the habanero.
The chicken taco was a bit bland, and the meat was dry. I doused it up with the smoked chipotle salsa.
A chef’s selection of tacos, tamales,
guacamole, and sides
We also had the mystery meat taco – my husband and I were unsure if it was the beef tongue or was it veal cheek? My waiter didn’t know, but I was hoping to at least try the beef tongue. Whatever the “beef” taco was – I’ll describe the meat as being very chewy and slightly fatty. Doing some research online, I’m led to believe it is the veal cheek. Not my favorite taco.
Not-tacos are small plates, or non-taco items. In the large tray, you get 4 tamales and guacamole:
To be honest, these were the first tamales I ever ate. I called them delicious bundles of joy. The meat was slightly dry, but add some salsa and you’re fine. A great companion to the tamales was the habanero salsa, and loads of it.
Generous chunks of avocado and finely chopped garlic and other spices – I think I saw a hint of cilantro.
We were also given stewed beans with pork, which I absolutely loved. Tons of flavor, but could use more pork. The cucumber salad was also a delight. I wasn’t a fan of the chipotle slaw – too much mayo.
After all this, did I have room for dessert? Sadly, no. But looking around the restaurant, the churros with chocolate dipping sauce looked amazing and the gelato, was ordinary – a scoop of gelato.
The little piggy I am, ate more than half of the large tray. My husband just sat back and watched me eat every little morsel. The busboy also got a chuckle out of me apologizing for finishing all the chili verde and smoked chipotle salsa. I only left half of the jar of habanero salsa.
Tacos – beef and chorizo
Would I come back – definitely. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can sit back and relax on the deck outside and stare out at the Byram River. It was frozen today.
Interior of bartaco
1 Willett Avenue
Port Chester, NY 10573