With all the faux Mexican food out there— from Taco Bell to the neighborhood “Mariachi eateries,” where a half pound of cheese is melted atop most every dish and Margaritas come in fishbowl-sized glasses—it’s exciting to see a restaurant deliver a faithful Mexican dining experience. Okay, so maybe “dining experience” is a bit strong: The Taco Project is über-casual and takeout-friendly, with scarcely 20 seats (most of them at the window counter with a view of Tarrytown’s amiable downtown) and offbeat décor highlighted by a turquoise-and-orange color scheme, a steer skull drizzled with multicolored paint, and Christmas light strands that are up beyond December. But when the food is this authentic and supported by a farm-to-table ethos, no one’s going to miss the white cloth napkins or a server taking orders at the table.
The authenticity starts with corn tortillas (as opposed to flour), which are what the Mayans used. Whether you choose the locally sourced soft white corn or the house-made hard shell corn tortilla, credit Chef Christian Ortiz for the standout tacos (two for $6.50-$8). Ortiz was hired by owner and Yonkers native Nick Mesce to create the menu. Three exceptional choices are the braised short-rib taco with guacamole salsa and crunchy jicama; chorizo with potatoes, red onion, and cilantro; and the batter-fried Atlantic cod taco with cabbage slaw and colorful red radishes.
There’s also house-made salsa and guacamole, seasonal ceviche, burritos, and a honey habanero salad using free-range Amish chicken and Satur Farms wild arugula.
The tortillas (both soft and hard shell) and the dipping chips are made the ancient Mayan way—using corn instead of flour.
The Taco Project does have beer or wine, but to continue the authenticity parade, try the non-alcoholic, homemade aguas frescas (iced drinks made from fruits, grains, herbs, or vegetables) in horchata, tamarind, or
WHAT TO ORDER: guacamole; apple habanero salsa; a salad of smoked corn, Cotija cheese, and baby heirloom tomatoes; tacos (chorizo, short rib, pork belly, grilled Atlantic cod); house-made aguas frescos (horchata); churros
18 Main St, Tarrytown