Sometimes, you deserve to just sit back and let people bring you trays of rocking tacos. At such times, head to Bartaco.
By Hope S. Philbrick
“The tacos are small,” our server warned, “so start with two or three.”
In addition to squashing hunger, ordering a variety of tacos is a way to try more menu items. Even after tasting six different tacos—my husband and I also split three sides and a dessert—there’s no clear favorite.
Baja fish pairs lightly fried cod with creamy chipotle slaw. The contrast between hot and cold temps and mild and zingy flavors are winning.
Mojo carnitas pairs slow-roasted pork with tangy mojo sauce for a juicy, savory bite.
Crunchy cauliflower is topped with romesco sauce for what feels like a guilt-free dish and tastes like zero compromise.
Roasted Brussels sprouts offer a meaty taste that’s topped with spicy carrot puree and a honey chipotle glaze. Of the tacos we sampled, this one surprised me the most because it surpassed expectations in the best way possible.
Carne asada flavors steak with tamari-citrus and aguacate salsa that will have you saying mmmm.
Roasted duck—so scrumptious my husband had to order a second one—glazes the savory, juicy meat with tamarind.
Guacamole is available in large and small portions. We split the small, but if I hadn’t managed to be polite I could have easily devoured all that guac by myself. It packs a refreshing snap of sharp lime flavor and arrives with round fried tortillas that are fun to crack into shards for dipping.
Black beans are garnished with a sofrito of tomato, garlic, and onion. The savory dish has straightforward flavors, a welcome contrast to some of the complex taco flavors.
Spicy cucumber salad is aptly named—they’re hot! Cool cuke segments are doused with garlic, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar.
The house margarita, caipirinha, and sangria are all solid versions of the classic drinks. Old Thymer is a sophisticated, interesting, delicious spin on a Manhattan that features Four Roses bourbon, Cocchi Torino vermouth, thyme, lemon, orange, and Angostura bitters.
Tres leches is served in a glass jar, an odd choice for cake. Rich with coconut flavors, it’s creamy and sized right.
The menu at Bartaco offers bites that skew “Latin cuisine” alongside several that lean “Asian cuisine.” Some items, like the miso cod taco, combine the two. On this visit, we stuck with Latin dishes. Maybe next time we’ll mix it up a bit more…though we’d also be happy ordering the exact same things again.
Heaters with raging flames warm outdoor eating areas and set a grand entryway. Travel-inspired (and -inspiring) décor gives the interior space a welcoming, cozy feeling that suggests a luxe resort’s poolside bar or trendy hotel’s lobby eatery. Friendly servers dash around delivering orders as soon as the kitchen has them ready. Once the dining room fills the place has a vibrant energy, yet it’s not too loud to prevent conversation with your dining companions.
Bartaco is a place to sit back, relax, and enjoy good company and flavors.
Multiple locations, including…
3802 Roswell Rd. NE
Open daily, 11 a.m. to “late.”
Credit/Debit only, no cash (except tips)
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Bartaco for hosting our visit.