City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: La Poutina
Where to Get It: Taco Bamba, 2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church; (703) 639-0505; tacobambarestaurant.com
Price: $4 each
What It Is: A poutine taco. Chef-owner Victor Albisu starts with a base of seasoned fries topped with barbacoa jus, cotija cheese, and bacon crumbles. The meat and cheese get a spicy-citrus mayo, onions pickled with beet juice and red-wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of cilantro and pickled Fresno chile slices. It’s easily converted into a vegetarian taco by swapping in chipotle-mushroom jus upon request.
What It Tastes Like: Most of the ingredients are pretty rich, but the pickled onions and chiles really cut into it, adding brightness and pop. The textures are what make this taco really special, though. You’re getting a blend of creaminess, crunch, and softness with spice, which is what Albisu loves about it. None of the flavors really stand out on their own, and the end result is pretty damn tasty.
The Story: Albisu says he was inspired by a plate of poutine he ate in New York recently. Plus, he’s always trying to surprise diners with his taqueria’s “nuevo tacos.” To complement the more traditional offerings, he likes to offer “a revolving door of tacos that keep our customer base entertained.” (This one will be on the menu through spring.) Not to mention the fact that its complexity and punchy flavors are in line with Albisu’s preference for aggressive flavors and layered textures—and his ability to go whole hog: “Once you’re eating a french fry taco, I think you’ve already decided to enjoy yourself, so why not make it spicy and load it up?”
Photo by Rina Rapuano