Locale Profile: Xaco Taco

Rick’s Roadhouse was underappreciated.

That’s right. I said it. When Motif hired me, they knew they were getting someone willing to expose the cold, hard truth when others would slink away into the shadows. I’m here to shout out the facts: RICK’S ROADHOUSE WAS UNDERAPPRECIATED.

Much like Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, I feel so strongly about my opinion that I invite you to come to my home and attack me if you don’t share my feelings (although I don’t think the conflict in that film was about pulled pork sandwiches). And speaking of pulled pork, a moment of silence for The Godzilla at Rick’s Roadhouse: a sandwich that consisted of a grilled cheese, topped with pulled pork, topped with ANOTHER grilled cheese.

But now it’s gone and a sign for Xaco Taco hangs on the front of the building.

When I saw the sign, I was torn between the enjoyment I get from trying new restaurants, and the, “Oh, goddammit!” feeling in my heart from losing Rick’s Roadhouse. I try to be an optimist when it comes to food. When it comes to anything else — especially people — I’m an extreme pessimist (I’m basically Batman with less money and more parents). So the next weekend, I decided to try out Xaco Taco.

The space feels cozy. A VW bus sits right in the middle of the restaurant, a huge hand-painted skull with headphones adorns a wall and more Dia de los Muertos-inspired artwork is peppered throughout the whole place; I was super impressed with the atmosphere, and I was excited for these tacos.

Xaco Taco calls itself a “relaxed and casual restaurant that represents the warmth, soul and traditions of Mexican street food.” Right away I ordered the guacamole, totopos with salsa verde, the Guajillo pork stew and the queso fundido. The salsa verde was possibly my favorite of all the salsa verde I’ve ever had. The Guajillo pork stew had larger chunks of pork than I expected, and was easily the best thing I ate. The seasoning was ideal. The balance between the cheese curds and pork was perfect, and it was a satisfying and truly excellent dish that put all the emphasis on the flavor of the pork.

I asked the waitress what I should choose for my main dish(es). She guided me like a taco shaman toward the light. In this case, the light consisted of three tacos; the al pastor (pork, pineapple, and sala divorciado), the carne asada (steak, queso cotija and árbol frita) and the chili relleno (a queso Oaxaca stuffed poblano pepper flash-fried, with salsa ranchera). I hungrily devoured my three amigos. Although I was pleased and satisfied with all of them, the chili relleno stood out the most and was absolutely delicious. I rarely order a taco (or any Mexican dish) without meat, but this taco was my favorite of the three.

I walked away happy and convinced. After holding a small candlelight vigil in my backyard for Rick’s Roadhouse, and fondly remembering my times with The Godzilla, I was able to let go.

Xaco Taco is a great addition to Richmond Street, and a great successor to Rick’s that retains the laid-back atmosphere while pushing forward with the new aesthetic. I’m excited to go back and try so many other things on the menu.

Although the candlelight vigil for Rick’s Roadhouse has passed, there will be a service next Sunday to celebrate the memory of The Godzilla. There will be a two-hour mass, followed by a very short silent parade and an emotional slideshow about The Godzilla. You can submit pictures for the slideshow to thisjokehasgonetoofar@gmail.com and you can find out more about the services at thisisnthelpingxacotaco.org. We’ll be using the hashtags #whohiredthiswriter and #noseriouslywhyishealllowedtodothis to commemorate the life and times of The Godzilla.

Xaco Taco, 370 Richmond St, PVD. xacotacori.com

 

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