The Taco Project with locations in Yonkers and Tarrytown has just arrived in Bronxville on Pondfield Road, which formerly housed Still Meadow and Scarborough Fair. Mexican restaurants have become very popular, each having their own unique appeal. Owned by partners and lifelong friends, Nick Mesce, Carmelo Milio and Sebastian Aliberti, with whom I had the pleasure of chatting, I discovered that The Taco Project has a delightful buzz about it. With very fresh ingredients, high quality and reasonable prices, Aliberti said, “We offer a contemporary twist of Tex-Mex food We love to create a unique menu as well as a friendly vibe. We are a boutique type of spot, California inspired and experimental. Our personality is behind our restaurant. We are a fast and casual spot that is hip for young and old and we bring “spunk” to our contemporary menu. To be successful, a restaurant owner must be humble and treat their staff well. We treat our staff like family. We are always open to improvement. Although we are quick and casual, we never lose our attention to detail. With Chef Alfonso Vivar heading the kitchen, and the three partners keeping an eye on the dining room, Bronxville’s Taco Project is quick to become a favorite spot to enjoy Mexican style food in a contemporary manner.
The bright and cheerful corner space is simply decorated with a Mexican flair. A white brick wall boasts a mural exploding with color. The limited seating is mostly counters and stools. You place your order at the counter which displays the full menu, and be seated. Your Taco Project logo tee shirt and sneaker clad wait staff will bring your order to you from the open kitchen in the rear of the restaurant. Intricate Spanish tiles, and lots of Mexican inspired art work line the walls and a painting of Frida Kahlo watches over the guests. Upon my lunch time visit, every seat was occupied and a long line of people were leaving with takeout orders. The sun was shining through the many windows as we anticipated our tasting.
Each dish arrived on a paper lined metal tray. Crisp, freshly prepared corn tortilla chips accompanied a dish of smoothly textured guacamole. Taco Project salsa was prepared with chunks of fresh tomatoes mingled with its juices and spices. It was a light and refreshing. Corn on the cob arrived as Mexican corn brushed with cotija cheese, cayenne pepper, and mayonnaise. Sweet and spicy, it was a joy to demolish every last bit of corn off the cob. Another starter worth trying are the sidewinder fries. These fan shaped slices of potatoes are dipped in a craft beer batter and fried to a golden brown. With chipotle aioli, jalapeno ketchup and Mexican blue cheese, this starter is one of those dishes where you can’t eat just one.
On to the tacos. Hard to resist were the short rib tacos. The tender shreds of braised short ribs were garnished with a homemade mole sauce and topped with a julienne of radish, fresh cilantro, and caramelized onions. Generously wrapped in a corn tortilla it was a perfect choice. Also scrumptious was the shrimp taco. Here, a tempura batter encased each shrimp. Fresh mango, cilantro, radish and tomatillo sauce completed this tangy combination. Atlantic cod was the filling for the fish taco, either sautéed or battered. We enjoyed the sautéed chunks of fish, combined with a red cabbage slaw, guacamole, cilantro and radish. Other taco choices, served two to an order, on soft yellow corn tortillas or hard shell, for an additional cost, are free range chicken, steak with chimichurri and guacamole, crumbled Mexican chorizo, braised pork belly with pineapple salsa, classic ground beef, and veggie with black beans, smoked corn and jicama among its ingredients. Specials are added to the taco menu regularly and may include salmon, or pulled pork.
Burritos here are filled to order in a flour tortilla and served with rice and beans, cojita cheese and sour cream. Add steak, chicken, fish or vegetables to customize your burrito. A flour tortilla “bowl” is your serving dish for a burrito bowl. This can be filled with your choice of ingredients. Quesadillas can be ordered with fillings of your choice, as well. Even the salads here are unique. Try smoked corn and field greens with a jalapeno cilantro vinaigrette or honey habanero chicken salad with free range chicken and mixed greens.
The Taco Project is a spot where you should make every effort to leave room for dessert. Of the three choices, I sampled a delicious housemade flan with caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream. It was more like a wedge of cake, rather than a pudding. A coconut tres leches cake was also a homemade treat. The portions are large, so be prepared to share. Next visit perhaps I will end my meal with their homemade churros. Jarritos, Mexican sodas are offered in many flavors. Beer and wines are available and housemade sangria with fruit are some beverage choices. We chose the house made agua frescas. The hibiscus variety was rich and the classic horchata, the cinnamon infused rice drink was most refreshing.
As the logo of The Taco Project suggests, “Live Love and eat Tacos”. If the tacos are prepared at The Taco Project, you are certainly going to enjoy them, as well as other menu choices. Visit The Taco Project where a feeling of youth and joy permeate the atmosphere.
The Taco Project
65 Pondfield Road
Taco Project Guacamole and Chips
3 ripe Haas avocados
2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsps. minced cilantro
1 tsp kosher salt
½ jalapeno, diced
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mash until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with lightly salted yellow corn tortilla chips, homemade if possible.