The wait is over — as of today, Centro Taco is officially open for business. We were invited in for Friends and Family to check out the renovated spaces and chow down on plenty of dishes.
Centro Taco is located in the former Sakaya Kitchen Downtown location, but it looks nothing like its predecessor. Owner Richard Hales helped design the interiors, much like his restaurant Blackbrick Chinese, which features eclectic wallpaper, graffiti “eyes” and in the back of the restaurant there is an open space where you can see people hand-making the tortillas throughout the day. And as a nod to its Asian-influenced sister restaurants, there is a dim sum cart rolling around the dinning room filled with a variety of Mexican dishes.
The menu was created by Richard Hales and chef de cuisine James Seyba and it’s divided into several different sections. For starters we tried the Flauta de Dia served with a warm chipotle salsa boracha, vegan crema, cotija; Grit Girl Bollita made with Grit Girl Mississippi stone ground grits, raw vegan verde salsa; and the Gordita made with Haitian Griots & Pikliz, cotija and raw vegan verde. If Queso Flameado is your thing Centro has an entire section dedicated to that, where we tried the one filled with crispy sweetbreads and foie gras.
Hales is a big fan of vegan cuisine and that shines through on the Centro menu. A whole Vegan section is dedicated to vegan-friendly dishes and featured some of our favorite bites of the night like the Fried Green Tomatoes with charred peaches and scallion salsa; Chayote Latke Bravas with adobo brava sauce, shaved onion and cilantro; and the Sangria Marinated Jicama with avocado, grapefruit and toasted almonds.
Of course the menu featured plenty of tacos like La Gringa filled with al pastor, Chihuahua cheese, pineapple and vegetables; Vegan Fried Avocado made with pickled fresno chili, heirloom tomato, sunflower seed, hemp seed; Vegan Hongos with a “Farm to kitchen” mushroom mix, panther coffee mole, squash blossom; and the table’s favorites the Camaron with Pipian rojo, huitlacoche, escamole, pepita seeds and the Steak Alhambra made with Proper sausage chorizo, Oaxaca cheese and poblano. Along with the existing tacos, Centro will also feature a rotating “Taco of the Day” that’ll range anywhere from $3-6 and a “Family Meal of the Day” that is enough to feed, well, the entire family.
Hale’s wife Jenny created the cookie dessert and Erica Cruz is handling the rest. We got to try the Hauraches de Fresa with strawberry, mango ice cream and whipped cream and the Choco Taco made with a chocolate tortilla, Azucar almond ice cream, coco nibs and meringue. All the dishes can be washed down with a variety of drinks includingg horachata, agua fresca and of course plenty of beer and wine.
Centro Taco is now officially open for lunch and dinner every weekday, dinner on Saturdays with brunch service in the works. Until you can make it in yourself, check out some of the tasty pictures below.