By Dr. Ink | Come On, Get Happy!
Attention shoppers: a chic restaurant and bar touting modern Mexican cuisine and decent tequilas has sprung onto Fashion Valley Mall’s second-level. If you need to throw down your bags and rest your bones on comfy rattan seating over designer tacos and margaritas, you’ve come to the right place.
Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Blanco Tacos + Tequila is an inviting refuge situated a few steps from of the food court’s frazzle. It is owned by Fox Restaurant Concepts, a Phoenix-based outfit that’s about to open North Italia restaurant near Bloomingdale’s on the ground floor.
With an impressive tequila and mezcal selection, plus craft beer and a food menu showing off trendy proteins and ingredient combinations, you can bet that every taco-loving hipster in town would flood Blanco if located outside a mall.
Which raises the question: Will mass consumers shell out $18 for a pair of wagyu beef tacos and nearly $20 on flights of premium tequilas after blowing their budgets on the mall’s pricey retailers?
While the jury decides, this infrequent mall patron happily embraced the price breaks available during happy hour. A margarita kissed with citrus-y Patron Citronge liqueur, for example, was half off the regular price of $10. The house-made sour mix containing coconut water, fresh lime and pineapple juices was appealing. But I struggled to taste the non-exclusive Jose Cuervo Especial tequila used in it.
Five dollars also scores you a beer (bottled or draft), a glass of sangria (red, white or pink), or an icy frosè made with rosè wine and pureed fruits.
Additionally, an abbreviated appetizer menu includes things like double-cheese nachos for $7; Mexican pizza with roasted poblano chilis and tomatoes for $8; and a few different tacos for $4 apiece.
As a longtime fan of ground-beef tacos, which are difficult to find beyond Taco Bell, I couldn’t resist. The crispy shell held a dense packing of the mildly spiced meat along with shredded cheddar, diced tomatoes and a few ribbons of lettuce. It reminded me of the gringo tacos my mother made back East when I was a kid, long before Mexican food entered into our local dining scene.
Had it not been for my gluttonous dive into the complimentary chips and flavorful red salsa, I would’ve ordered a couple more. And if the margarita was a little stronger, I might have let down my spending guard and hit the stores afterwards for some foolhardy purchases.