The tacos speciality shop Taco Fanatico in Naka-meguro and Mexican restaurant Zest Cantina Odaiba in Tokyo are welcoming more customers with open arms on Taco Tuesdays.
I visited Taco Fanatico, the smallest-scale eatery under Global Dining, which manages Gonpachi, La Boheme, jazz bar Tableaux Lounge in Daikanayama and some 40 other popular restaurants across the nation.
The Taco Tuesday campaign, which offers a 30% discount, began on Oct 6 and is luring Mexican food fans from all over Tokyo. This dinner time (from 5 p.m.) offer includes seven kinds of tacos -- Cajun Pork, Guacamole Chicken, Chipotle Beef, Spicy Lamb, Vegan, Tempura Shrimp and Beef Steak. Their normal price ranges from 260 yen to 450 yen, but on Tuesdays, all tacos can be enjoyed at 182 yen to 315 yen.
Taco Fanatico’s homemade tortillas are gluten-free. Their colorful traits come from beets and yellow corn. I thought I had to try their Tempura Shrimp. The tempura is so crispy, shrimp fairly big, and the ranch dressing make it perfect for an eccentric Japanese fusion. I knocked it down in two bites. The size of each taco is just right so that guests can try many different items.
I knew I needed a margarita to go with the next few rounds , so I asked for their signature drink - Senorita Frozen Margarita (950 yen). With the pink tropical drink in hand, I tried their authentic Guacamole Chicken with salsa fresca.
After the first bite, I added some hot sauce condiments lined up on the counter, and poured it down with the peach scented liquor. Arriba! I imagine it could be a dangerous potion because the blending is so nicely done, it can be hard to taste the strong alcohol. Apparently, the cocktail is an original creation by mixologist Antonio at restaurant Tableaux in Daikanyama.
Manager Kosuke Yoshikawa formerly worked at Stellato, a French restaurant also operated by Global Dining. Hence, each taco has a flavorful sauce which is quite visionary. His Salsa Verde (green hot sauce using ground cherries) is excellent.
The vegetables for Vegan taco changes seasonally. Upon my visit, it was mushrooms with guacamole. Yoshikawa mentions he pitched for fried maitake mushroom tempura for the pre-winter season and that will likely be next on the menu. Snow crabs will also be on offer, which is another reason to come back. My favorite was Spicy Lamb with Harissa mayo and chili powder. Though I had four tacos (probably a little more than a girl’s portion), the gluten-free tortillas didn’t make me feel stuffed and I left muy contenta.
There’s an impressive stack of Tequila and Mezcal in the restaurant, some of which are very rare. If you want a Tequila maestro to pinpoint your choice of the day, ask for the certified “Mana Tequila” who is normally behind the counter each night.
“About 70% of our customers are foreign people,” says Yoshikawa, who can get by in English. The beat of Latin music is another addition to the vibe. The restaurant can get crowded at times, but the plastic curtain doors are kept constantly wide open for ample ventilation and an open-feel view of the Meguro River.
Thanks to its location, one of the popular viewing spots for cherry blossoms, Taco Fanatico will specially serve Sakura Taco during the season. It’s a dessert taco with Japanese sweet bean paste wrapped in pink tortilla and sakura leaf.
Address: 1F Naka-Meguro Mansion 1-5-10 Kami-Meguro
Hours: Weekdays 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Weekends & Holidays 11:30 a.m. - 2 a.m. (L.O. 1:30 a.m.)
*Only cashless payments
Zest Cantina Odaiba
Address: 4F, AQUA CITY, 1-7-1, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Mon. to Thu. 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m. (L.O. 10:30 p.m.)
Fri to Sun. 11:30 a.m. -12 a.m. (L.O. 11:30 p.m.)© Japan Today