When I walked into Taco Gordo on a very cold and snowy Friday night, the doorway was blocked by a large hanging black sheet to keep the cold from rushing in and freezing everyone inside. Lured by the promise of warmth, I pushed through the opening. The industrial space that greeted me was packed with a diverse Old North End (ONE) crowd.
Taco Gordo is known for its tacos and tequila, only one of which I can enjoy. Located in the heart of the ONE at the junction of North Union St. and North Winooski, it gets a lot of foot traffic, which is good. On a drive by, it is easy to mistake the building for a gas station or convenience store.
The wait for a table on this Friday night at 7:30 was just over 20 minutes. The restaurant works with an order at the counter, take a number and go to the table system. We ordered Horchata, ginger beer, chips and salsa, and three of the signature tacos: Carnitas, Tinga, and Bean. The tacos range from two to five dollars and come with one in a basket.
The chips and salsa came immediately. The restaurant style chips were crunchy and had the perfect amount of salt on them. The smoky, sharp and smooth chipotle salsa was just what I needed to thaw my frozen bones.
The wait for the food was surprisingly fast considering how many people there were.
The Carnitas, the succulent slow roasted pork taco ($4), was addicting in the worst way. It was tender and juicy and made me remember why I am not a vegan!
The Tinga, chicken braised with house adobo ($4), was a little disappointing. Generally I am a big fan of chicken and have it as my go to for burritos and tacos. The meat was dark, dense and slightly dry but the flavor was tangy and rich.
The bean taco ($2) a taco with just plain black beans and nothing else, was earthy and cooling while still warming my stomach, a great option for vegetarians and vegans.
My favorite of all was the first drink on the Non-Alcoholic menu, Horchata (4), a sweet rice milk with cashews and cinnamon. The slightly warm liquid slips into your mouth and pours down your throat so carelessly. It was one of those moments where you have to stop your dinner conversation while you drink and reflexively announce, “Wow that’s good.”
Taco Gordo is a great choice if you want an affordable meal with great quality.