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La Taq


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#1 Neven

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:51 AM

La Taq

1625 NE Killingsworth St.

Portland, OR

 

La Taq, the tex-mex bar/taqueria next to Podnah's, is now open. I went in last night for a late dinner with a friend from Austin who's always looking for Texan food in Portland.

 

It was far too dark to take pictures of anything, unfortunately. Here's the menu, from memory:

 

Tacos: brisket, carne asada, carnitas, chorizo, shrimp, avocado, chanterelle

Pork tamales, queso (with chorizo or green chile), rice & beans, escabeche, a few more small things

 

The queso was fine. It had a clumpy appearance that made my friend go "uh oh", but it was fairly smooth once we dug in. (He hated the queso Podnah's once had, saying it was gritty.) 

 

The tamales were very nice. Moist and liberally stuffed with shredded pork, reminiscent of MMM's. Like the queso and some of the tacos, they were served topped with pico de gallo, which reminded me that, oh right, I don't like pico de gallo. I'll take salsa over it any day.

 

My friend got the rice and beans, and he loved them. He said he'd just order those and a bunch of tortillas next time. The beans looked shiny and saucy, the way I like them. 

 

Carne asada and carnitas tacos were good—no surprise there. Shrimp taco was also better than the average. Chanterelle taco was boring—I'll stop ordering mushroom tacos (except at MMM) if people are going to just sauté mushrooms and put them on a tortilla. (Corazon, grrr.)

 

The tortillas are handmade, small, and thick (I like that). They tasted fresh, though a few of mine were a bit parched and cracking—they had probably not puffed up.

 

The chips are made with these tortillas, and they were hot when I got them, though a bit hard/dry. I don't know enough about chip-frying to know why that would be the case.

 

The escabeche was a nicely pickled mix of green chiles, onions, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. It was way too hot for my heat tolerance, but before it destroyed my lips, it tasted good. 

 

The space is small, with a patio that'll probably get busy during the sunny season. It feels more like a bar than a restaurant. Given that Beaker & Flask's Kevin Ludwig is at the bar, this will sound like heresy, but: neither my friend nor I liked our cocktails much. We both independently concluded they were weak and boring. I loved B&F, so who knows, maybe they were off, or maybe we were off.

 

If this sounds like a mixed experience, it was. Nothing was "bad", but the limited size of the menu (and the fact that it doesn't really include anything I can't get at a bunch of other places) means I'll probably only come back if someone else badly wants to go.



#2 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 03:30 PM

Anyone know the hours?  I don't see a website.

 

I kind of wish they were doing freshly-fried crisp tortillas or, even better, freshly made flour tortillas.  I'd like it to be more Texican and less Mexican.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#3 vj

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:53 PM

Handmade Flour Tortilla discussion now has its own thread: http://portlandfood.org/topic/14015-handmade-flour-tortillas-in-pdx/



#4 nervousxtian

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:25 PM

BTW, should be noticed that this IS a bar... not a Restaurant.    

 

Someone might want to move it to the correct spot... found out when the kids wanted Mexican and we drove out here.. they have no website.. and I hadn't been to Podnah's since they opened.

 

Ended up just going next door to Podnah's.. but still just a head's up.



#5 jennifer

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:22 PM

Thanks for posting this.  It's been on my list and I had no idea that it wasn't ok for kids.  



#6 iheartfromage

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:48 PM

Indeed!  I was turned away on Saturday due to having a six month old baby in tow!



#7 ExtraMSG

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:29 PM

Yep, on my one visit, I saw a family turned away.  I think they have different expectations because of Podnah's.  But it's definitely a bar.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#8 nervousxtian

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:28 PM

I had different expectations to be honest.   I respect he wants it to be a bar, and it's a tiny space so it's not really set-up like a restaurant at all..  but all I really heard was Rodney opened a tex-mex joint.. I assumed it was a restaurant.

 

Just means I won't ever go there.. as escaping the kids I typically have bigger plans than what La Taq offers and since no kids.  

 

Wish him all the luck though... they seemed okay busy for a Sunday night, no where near what Podnah's was.



#9 MarshMan

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:05 PM

Get a sitter and order a bunch of things and some margaritas.  You won't regret it.



#10 Quo Vadis

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:42 AM

I agree with March, Nervous. La Taq is worth it to use a child free night. It really is excellent. Also, I think I've seen them do take out.

I'm not surprised given the layout that they are 21+, in fact looking at the layout they may not even have had a choice in the matter.

Two of the factors at work when the OLCC inspector determines your license type are if alcohol sales exceed for sales (or if you business plan anticipates this) and if the majority of the seating is in an area of the floorplan where it could be said the major function is serving of alcohol.


Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#11 porky pine

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 07:22 AM

I've found a sitter twice now to go to La Taq.  The room wouldn't really make sense with kids.  It's a bar.  I really like their tacos and cocktails.  I usually try to hit up the bar at Aviary and Expatriate too well I'm out without the kids for a few hours.



#12 WAfoodie

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:22 AM

Rodney Muirhead's post hours ago with picture of their puffy taco

https://twitter.com/podnahsbbq



#13 RachelWithAnR

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 10:31 AM

If you haven't been in recently, we were in last week and had an excellent experience-- everything was delicious, well-prepared, and much more consistent than when we'd been previously. Apparently they have a new chef who's doing really good work. The puffy taco is indeed a highlight.



#14 WAfoodie

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 08:04 AM

A lot of puffy tacos flying out of the kitchen last night. It's a first for me, with it's crispy, airy exterior, meaty filling, and with the freshness from the lettuce/tomatoes, that surprisingly held together as I ate it by hand and not with a fork as some other people chose to use. Also ordered the tender, juicy brisket taco in the soft shell.

Loved the choice of ordering tacos with either a soft or crispy shell.

Also solid choices were the tender pork chili verde, black beans (not a bean enthusiast, but these plain beans really made me very happy), chips and salsa, house margarita, and I can't remember the names of the other refreshing margaritas but one is made with celery and the other has carrot juice, a signature concoction.

 

The only sad looking plate by my standards, ordered by another customer, was the arugula salad very minimally garnished with jicama and pineapple (?). Maybe an isolated instance, it could have used more garnish.

 

If you've had some elements of these dishes, like the brisket, chili verde during brunch or the salsa and chips at Podnah's, you know it's going to be good.

 

It's a small place and by 5:30 seats were filling up fast with a few people waiting with their drinks by the shelf built against the wall. It may seat 40+ inside but that's if you squeeze yourself in at the bar.

They've installed outdoor stand-up concrete countertop tables in front of the building for when the weather gets better, people will overflow in the front and in the patio.

 

Loved the concrete countertops, music, energy of the room. We sat at the bar, great service and attention by the bartenders.



#15 WAfoodie

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 01:05 PM

La Taq is now open Saturday/Sunday at noon.....puffy tacos are good as ever, as well as the cocktails, fish tacos, black beans, chips/salsas, chili verde, etc.

 

 

https://www.facebook...574279972620945



#16 Quo Vadis

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:22 AM

La Taq has happy hour now.

Weekdays 3-5pm
$5 margs, 50 cents off tacos was the deal when I went, sure that'll probably change up here and there.


Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume