I have spent the last twelve months or so completing a whirlwind Taco Tour of Atlanta, and I have officially found a new top taco. My recent meal at Escorpion Tequila Bar & Cantina was pretty close to taco-perfection. The restaurant is located in Midtown at the corner of 5th and Peachtree. The inside has a spacious bar and dining area, and the outside, a breezy wrap-around patio (immediate bonus points for this). The patio was spectacular for people-watching, even if the Peachtree traffic was a bit noisy (apparently raging up and down Peachtree on a motorcycle is a popular sport these days).
Escorpion’s cocktail menu offers quite a few tequila concoctions, and I was sold on the El Veneno as soon as our server uttered the words “skinny margarita.” The drink was ice cold, refreshing, and quite strong. It also arrived within minutes, which warranted additional bonus points.
Courtesy of my dining companions, I also tried sips of the Santa Ana Fruit Cart and the Pharmacia, but the Veneno was definitely my favorite.
Our cocktails arrived with a complimentary order of chips & salsa, which seems trivial, but is becoming more of a rarity these days. The salty chips and fiery salsa balanced perfectly with my skinny marg.
The taco section encompassed approximately 50% of Escorpion’s menu, so I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the selection. The tacos ranged from traditional to adventurous (think beef tongue & braised goat) and came in three sizes: a la carte, plate, or familia. You can also choose between flour or corn tortillas. I think it’s obvious that I appreciate options.
Of everything that I sampled, the grilled shrimp taco was by far the best. The shrimp were really large (for taco standards), nicely charred, and topped with fresh pico de gallo and a drizzle of jalapeno salsa. I came back a week later and ordered two more of these (along with a few more El Venenos).
The grilled salmon taco was super flavorful, even if the salmon itself was cooked about 30 seconds longer than I would have liked. The fish was topped with a cucumber-mango-jicama slaw, and dressed with a tangy citrus vinaigrette. A hint of chile salsa completed the dish, providing a spicy kick at the end.
The arrachera taco was a marinated skirt steak, with grilled peppers and onions. The salsa de arbol on this taco definitely brought the heat, but paired really nicely with the smoky flavor of the steak (even if my mouth was slightly on fire by the end of it).
The seta veggie taco was probably my least favorite of the four, but let’s be honest, when are vegetables ever better than steak, salmon, or shrimp? The presentation of grilled corn, Portobello mushrooms, and zucchini was bright and beautiful, but the veggies tasted a bit bland. I definitely would have liked a little more of the poblano flavor, and a little less cotija.
Despite their differences in proteins and flavors, all four tacos had one thing in common: a fresh and delectable corn tortilla. The tortillas were served warm, and just thick enough to keep the tacos intact. I didn’t try any of the flour tortillas, but I’d imagine they were on the same level as the corn.
Until my next stop on the Taco Tour (which is currently TBD), Escorpion has officially taken over the #1 spot. Sorry, El Taco, it’s been a good run.