Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Starting off 2013 with reruns like everyone else!
Chef Robert Phalen’s shrine to the tortilla, Holy Taco is a quirky spot that fits right in its East Atlanta neighborhood. Much like his dishes at One Eared Stag, Phalen makes use of obscure ingredients and offal in dishes like his fried chicken hearts faco and the “Buffalo style” pig tails appetizer.
The expansive patio comprises most of the seating with a long bar inside. Brightly painted brick walls reminded me of Cabo. A nice selection of tequila is available by the shot, but they are just as expensive as the drinks, so we ordered our standard skinny margaritas with salt. By the way, if you are planning to sit on the patio, make sure you wear something long enough to cover your thighs. The chairs and tables are the black wrought iron variety that cause (nearly) permanent indentations.
Although I wanted to order something unusual like arepas, we resorted to our usual chips, queso with jalapenos and guacamole to start. The chips were cut from their corn tortillas, which are not made in house but obviously come from an authentic (although admittedly not Mexican) source, then fried, creating thick and flaky chips. Guacamole was much like mine, just not as spicy. But the bottle of XXXHot Habanero Sauce on the table scorched our tastebuds when added to the queso…ay carumba!
We did venture off the taco trail by ordering the pan fried padron peppers as a starter. Eaten individually or added to our queso, these little boogers packed a lot of flavor, but only about one in ten were hot….exactly like our server said.
However, we were at Holy freakin’ Taco so we had to order tacos! I only wanted one, but it was so hard to choose….young goat or grilled shrimp? In the end I couldn’t resist the skirt steak with cotija cheese, while LC tried the 12 hour roasted pork shoulder and the beek brisket tacos, all in corn tortillas. We also got a side of corn on the cob, described as “streetstall-style roasted organic”.
Every taco I eat is a test of authenticity compared to the God of all tacos eaten in Playa del Carmen. Holy Taco’s tortillas were made of yellow corn (yay!) but were flimsy enough to require two per taco (boo!). Unfortunately, juices from the fillings caused the tortillas to get soggy and fall apart. I enjoyed the steak and the pork, although a liberal sprinkling of cilantro would have helped both. Neither of us cared for the brisket which was accompanied by five pieces of carrot. I couldn’t find the Vidalia relish that is mentioned on the menu. The corn, topped with spiced mayo and queso fresco, was sweet and awesome, but I think it would have been even better with roasted chili butter.
I really wanted to save room for the pan de chocolate or an order of churros, but I ordered another skinny margarita instead.
And that’s how I like my corn. Hardcore.
1314 Glenwood Avenue 404-230-6177