By Shelby Clark Petkus
In the ever developing Downtown Detroit area, Taqo Detroit adds its name to the list of businesses helping to enrich the area. The Mexican restaurant, within walking distance of Detroit event hubs like Comerica Park, Cliff Bell’s and the Detroit Opera House, adds a diverse option to the Woodward stretch. With an open dining room complete with color-changing bar shelves, the venue’s decor hints to the fresh feel of the menu. A small section of outdoor seating is also available.
The cantina boasts a few things that immediately place it above the typical Mexican offering, an extensive list of tequila being one of them. With price points ranging from cheap to the highest of high shelves, over 200 different makes of the libation are offered. The tequila list is broken down into three categories: silver, resposado and anejo. Respectively, those titles designate how long the tequila has been aged. Silver signifies tequila bottled almost immediately after distillation and resposado labels the spirit when aged a minimum of two months but less than a year. Anejo is tequila aged a minimum of one year but less than three. A server recommended the anejo offering by Blue Nectar, offering a sippable tequila that was smooth like butter.
Where there’s tequila, there are margaritas, with Taqo’s house version solidly fresh and well-balanced. Peach, strawberry and blue (made with Blue Curacao) margaritas are also available.
The typical chips and salsa are good, with the chips warm and not too salty. Other appetizers are offered, from the standard queso to the more interesting asada fries, waffle fries topped with steak or grilled chicken, cheese dip, pica de gallo, guacamole and crema casera. The guacamole is made fresh, with a creaminess not found in many other versions in addition to the heaping portion of tomatoes, onions and yellow pepper.
The dinner menu is large without being overwhelming, with a mixture of traditional and more novel takes on Mexican fare throughout. The standard “combination” plates of tostadas, burritos, tacos, etc. is offered for the indecisive (all come with rice and beans). Diners may find themselves spending more time looking at the menu than it takes to receive their dishes–the food came out exceptionally fast, with no item undercooked. The speediness of the kitchen matched the attentiveness of the service, with waitstaff amicable and willing to ask the chef or bartender for recommendations catered to diner desires.
The tamale dinner was large, with pork standing up to the heavy amount of sauce. A combination plate of tostada, enchilada and burrito left plenty for dinner (and a lunch the next day). The chicken in those particular wrappings was especially good–tender and moist, perhaps signaling the influence of Taqo’s sister restaurant next door, Rub BBQ.
The ubiquitous rice and beans are tasty without being overly salty, as often can be found in lesser Mexican joints. The refried beans in particular had a pleasant firmness to them, suggesting a lesser fat content than most versions of the dish.
Tacos are served in the more authentic way, with onions, lime and sprigs of cilantro–Taqo offers there own verde sauce on top for a delicious twist. The pastor (pork) was flavorful, the carne asada meaty and the chorizo delicately seasoned. Any taco can be offered to a meal for under $2.50.
While Taqo does not currently offer dessert, a server noted that the restaurant is currently testing a variety of options that will be introduced soon.
Taqo Detroit is located at 22 W. Adams St., Detroit. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, with happy hour offered from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit www.taqodetroit.com or call 313-962-7701 for more information.