A couple of Fridays ago, Marie and the three year-old came down to see me at work and we drove a short distance away for some lunch. Bartaco opened in August in a former industrial space on Marietta Street right at Howell Mill Road, continuing the ongoing prettification of this little stretch, which had been old city blight for such a long time. Going in next door are an Arden’s Garden and a boutique called A Ma Maniére. It must have been an expensive buildout for the small chain, which is based in Connecticut and has three stores there and one just across the state line in Port Chester NY.
Locally, ATL Food Snob was the first blogger to visit the place, his writeup appearing about a week before our visit. He was impressed by the space, which camouflages the surroundings so well that if you squint, you might think that you’re at a simple island restaurant, with open windows, a lovely back patio, pebble gardens, and wicker everywhere.
While tacos are the main feature here, Marie was intrigued by the rice bowls. Come to think of it, we only ended up here at all because she said that she was in the mood for tacos. Then she goes and orders a rice bowl? Anyway, $7 will get you a filling bowl of rice, sweet peppers, and your choice from six or seven different proteins. She went with wild boar for the novelty and enjoyed it.
The tacos are smaller than most in town, but they do a good job with seasoning the meats. Our server took a minute to show off their three table sauces, but I’m not sure what I was meant to use them on; the tacos didn’t need any. I went with chicken, spicy chorizo, and falafel, again amused by the novelty. They were all very good, but I liked the falafel best of all.
I also had a bowl of pretty good gazpacho, and our son was very pleased with the options on the kids’ menu. We got him a bowl of broccoli and a skewer of watermelon and pineapple. Well, I say that he was pleased, but we guess that he didn’t actually enjoy the texture of the pineapple. He “ate” those chunks by pressing the fruit against his teeth so that he could suck down the juice without chewing on it. We gently admonished him for poor table manners, but we were too busy giggling to effectively curb the behavior.
The small portions here mean that guests will want to order lots of different things and enjoy lots of different flavors. It seems like a nice addition to the neighborhood, one that’s open late with lots of drink specials and some fun things to eat while you enjoy your cocktails and beers.
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