Taco Bamba, the local chain of Mexican street food shops where chef Victor Albisu explores the outer reaches his imagination, opens its fifth Northern Virginia location for lunch and dinner today in Ballston (4000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite C).
Like every Taco Bamba, the new location brings on a bunch of new items that integrate influences from the surrounding area. At his first Arlington restaurant, Albisu has peppered references to the county’s rich history of international venues with a lineup of nuestros (our) tacos full of Peruvian chicken, chipotle pork vindaloo, shawarma spiced zucchini, and chorizo larb.
El Pollo Rico, arguably the top pollo a la brasa shop in the D.C. area, gets a nod with the El Rico Pollo taco, which adds green chile puree, aji amarillo aioli, salsa criolla, and crispy potato to “Peruvian-ish” chicken. A One Night in Bangkok taco incorporates Thai flavors with seared shrimp and chorizo larb, mint, basil, chiles, and crispy onions. Vegetarians will gravitate toward the Salim Abu Aziz El Khoury, which comes with visually striking smear of burnt eggplant on a pita topped with shawarma-spiced zucchini, grilled halloumi cheese, sumac onion, and parsley. Sales from a Tony Khoury Shawarma taco (steak, ancho mayo, chipotle yogurt, cucumber pico de gallo, mint) will go to World Central Kitchen, which is feeding the relief effort in Beirut.
Other innovative additions at Taco Bamba Ballston include the Jeffrey, a fried spring roll bursting with Mexican meats (carne asada, pork al pastor, chorizo) as well as Chihuahua cheese, peppers, onions, and serrano salsa verde. There’s a crispy eggplant quesadilla called the Wario Lopez, a spicy fried chicken torta with pickled chiles called the Big Red, and a serving of nacho fries (Wu-Fries) mixed with tofu, chorizo, and pickled chiles.
On the cocktail side, Taco Bamba’s new store sells a handful of margaritas, including varieties based in wood-fired pineapple; blood orange and pomegranate; spicy guava; and watermelon. There’s also a rum-based honeydew melon punch.
The Ballston location has a small patio and an entrance on N. Quincy Street. Customers can survey the full menu here, and order takeout or delivery online here. The brand’s D.C. location, and adjoining Mexican fine dining restaurant Poca Madre, remain indefinitely closed. Locations in Falls Church, Vienna, Springfield, and Fairfax are open.
- Taco Bamba Is Opening an Arlington Location With a New Take on Peruvian Chicken [EDC]
- The Creative Mind Behind Taco Bamba Is Opening an Egg-Centric Restaurant in Ballston [EDC]
- How D.C.’s Mexican Food Mad Scientist Makes a Ramen Taco Work [EDC]
- A New Taco Bamba Will Wrap Ramen and Chicken Nuggets in Tortillas [EDC]