There's a new taqueria coming to West Dallas that promises to do a category of tacos not yet done here. Tacos Mariachi will offer the kind of street tacos found in Tijuana with a focus on seafood.
The taqueria comes from Jesus Carmona, a 30-year veteran of the Dallas restaurant scene, and will open at 602 Singleton Blvd., a couple blocks down from the Margaret Hunt-Hill Bridge and the booming Trinity Groves complex, in what used to be a mom-and-pop called La Chilanga.
Carmona and chef Moises Rico will be crafting fresh and savory flavors that are inspired by a trip Carmona made to Tijuana, where he was amazed by the diversity of the food and how much it was dominated by seafood.
Carmona discovered Tijuana-style tacos while working for the Rosewood group.
"I was part of the team sent down to open the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende," Carmona says. "The project got delayed, so they sent me to the Las Ventanas al Paraiso, their property in Cabo San Lucas. My manager said, 'You have two weeks off, you can go anywhere you want, so I went to visit a friend who lives in Tijuana."
As a native of Mexico, Carmona had seen street tacos, but not like the ones he saw in Tijuana.
"They mainly do seafood because they're on the Pacific," he says. "There was one I liked where their seafood was phenomenal, and they shared their recipes."
His menu will include grilled octopus with cilantro pesto, wild mushrooms, Oaxaca cheese, and avocado on a corn tortilla, and smoked salmon taco, wrapped like a crepe with melted asadero cheese, and served on corn tortilla with avocado and crema fresca.
Carmona says the food will be bright, colorful, and filled with variety, "just like the bustling streets of Tijuana."
But Tacos Mariachi will also serve traditional tacos including pollo al pastor, barbacoa, and carne asada, plus breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos all day.
There'll be beer and wine, and aguas frescas like Jamaica and Cucumber Limonada.
The exterior features a mural inspired by Tijuana streets, featuring the restaurant's "mascot," a zebra donkey named Cesar. Inside, it's a recycler's dream.
"All of the decoration — the doors, the wood accents — are made from local recycled materials," Carmona says. "Even the front door is made from scrap metal from Davis Metals down the street."
Carmona intends to be a hands-on restaurateur too, ready to talk about his food and offer guests a full experience. "But the best way to judge food is to taste it," he says.