DINING OUT: Say Olé for What A Taco
Flavorful, home-cooked food thats easy on the budget is the specialty of What A Taco, which delivers Mexican food with a Brooklyn twist, in the words of owner and Bay Ridge native John Tsakinis.With 25 years as a chef, Tsakinis opened the eatery last October with the goal of offering up fare thats affordable, family-friendly and fun, while also keeping the spirit of Bay Ridges traditional mom-and-pop businesses. He delivers on all counts. At a recent lunch, I sampled several specialties, which range in price from $1 (for a taco) to $8 for the avocado salad, and theres also a reasonably priced breakfast menu for earlybirds. Everything was well-flavored, made in house with fresh ingredients (no canned food is used, stressed Tsakinis). A chicken taco ($1) featured a mound of shredded chicken (cooked for three hours so flavors can blend), topped with salsa verde featuring onions, jalapeños, tomatillos and cilantro. The beef barbacoa taco (also $1) starred shredded spiced beef (cooked for four hours!) spiced with salsa roja, inflected with the smoky goodness of chipotles. A stuffed burrito (part of an $8 lunch special served daily from 11 am. to 4 p.m., including a drink and a side dish) was crammed with rich chili, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, pico de gallo, guacamole and green goddess sauce. It came with crunchy fresh chips topped with diced veggies. The Nachos Grande ($3) featured a pile of chips adorned with melted cheese, beans, jalapeños (pickled in house), sour cream and pico de gallo. The Burrito Platter ($7.50) is, in effect, a deconstructed burrito an elegant arrangement of the meat of your choice, shredded cheese, black beans, shredded lettuce, rice and diced veggies, with a generous container of salsa, definitely value for the money. And, thats Tsakinis goal. I want to make food thats inexpensive but good, clean, fresh and cooked every day, he said. I want to give value, see volume and see people happy.WHAT A TACO8612 Fourth AvenueBrooklyn, NY 11209718-745-8226 or 8227Order by phone or on seamless.com or grubhub.comFree delivery to Shore Road, 65th Street and 11th AvenueMonday-Thursday: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.Friday: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.Saturday: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.Sunday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
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