We took a quick trip over to Taco Mamacita in Villa Place last week. The work they have done to the former Rosario's space is admirable, eliminating that mezzanine that never really worked anyway and decorating with some interesting, kitschy Mexican-themed posters and lighting. I can't say I'm really fond of the "Durty Sanchez" appellation of the bar area. (If you don't know what it means, don't even Google it...nasty.)
The crowd was pretty sparse the night we were there a few days before Christmas, but the staff was very attentive and anxious to hear our opinions and those of the diners sitting around us. Or maybe they were just bored because there was a 1-to-1 server/patron ratio.
They still serve only high alcohol beers until they get their beer permit, but the beer list looks like it will be fairly expansive, and the selection of wines and liquors that are already available should make Taco Mamacita a popular tippling spot. The El Camino margarita benefited from a tangy splash of orange juice, but their attempt at a low-cal version made with Splenda was not as successful. Even with the promise that we'd never believe it was a "diet" drink, we found it way too sweet and didn't particularly care for the aftertaste. Fortunately the bar manager checked back on us immediately for our impressions and gladly swapped it out for high-test.
After a quick run through a basket of chips with the salsa sampler and queso, we decided on some of their specialty tacos. Priced equivalently to those at Local Taco, these were substantially more stuffed than the Local Taco versions. Where it usually takes three Local Taco tacos to make a meal for me, two from Mamacita was a nice helping.
We particularly enjoyed the spicy General Homeboy, filled with panko breaded shrimp with a sweet Thai chili, sauce, shredded Napa cabbage, sliced radish, green onions and cilantro. We were reminded of the lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang's with half the mess. The Taco Royale was also a hit, with a double-stacked taco filled with roasted chicken, salsa verde, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, crumbled chorizo, creamy black bean mash and chipotle cream sauce. The salsa verde was already our favorite from the salsa sampler.
We didn't get a chance to try out the Roasted Peruvian Chicken that they are apparently very proud of, but we look forward to returning and eating the rest of the way through the taco menu.
If you get there before we do, as always please leave your impressions in the comments. ¡Buen provecho!
1200 Villa Place at Edgehill Avenue