Taco Bamba will open its fifth area location next month, announcing today that a Fairfax, Virginia, shop will add custom tortilla stuffers such as ramen noodles with shoyu carnitas, fried chicken thighs, and General Tsao’s cauliflower to chef Victor Albisu’s list of street food creations.
The new Taco Bamba is scheduled to open Thursday, December 6, inside the University Mall development across the street from George Mason University. Long before he opened the previous four Taco Bamba locations across Northern Virginia and Washington, Albisu studied politics and international relations at Mason.
“They say you can’t go home again,” Albisu says in a news release, “but apparently you can go back to college.”
A Fairfax menu developed by Albisu and chef de cuisine Tom Hall is already online. Following Taco Bamba protocol, there are various options for traditional tacos, nachos, sopes, tortas, and other Mexican fare such as posole rojo (hominy pork stew) and elote (street corn slathered in mayo and cotija cheese).
Like the Taco Bamba locations in Falls Church, Vienna, Springfield, and D.C., a “nuestros” (our) tacos section rolls out options unique to Fairfax. Those include a Robinson Ramen with noodles and pork; an Ol’ Mick Nugget with crisp chicken, sweet and sour barbecue mustard, and pickles; and a Savage Sub-Mariner full of fried calamari. The Mr. Chow — with cauliflower subbing for General Tsao’s chicken — and the Fairfax 4-way, mixing blistered Brussels sprouts with granola and cashew crema, offer vegetarian options.
Anyone who’s eaten the cheeseburger-style El Gringo taco in Chinatown knows that Taco Bamba has expertise crafting greasy indulgences. That will be on the menu in Fairfax, along with a Papi John quesadilla packing in pepperoni and chorizo.
Albisu, the 2015 Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington Chef of the Year, opened a Chinatown outpost of Taco Bamba in April. He also debuted Poca Madre, a finalist in the design category of this year’s Eater Awards, in an adjacent space that used to house his South American steakhouse, Del Campo.
Taco Bamba appears to face little competition around George Mason for traditional Mexican food, but multiple Taco Bell locations, a Chuy’s Tex-Mex restaurant, and Anita’s New Mexican Style Mexican Food are all close.