The tacos are authentically delicious.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “It is what tacos are supposed to be.”
The tortillas are hot and fresh.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “We make our tortillas every day, many times a day.”
And the atmosphere is always festive.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “You come in and it’s like you’re walking into a Mexican carnival.”
It may not actually be Mexico, but it sure does feel like it at Xaco Taco.
Brand new to Providence Rhode Island, Xaco Taco is a 200 seat spot where fun is all around; from the dishes coming out of the kitchen, to the drinks served up at the bar, to the vintage Volkswagen van right in the middle of the dining room. And according to General Manager Jeff Shabo, there’s plenty to keep customers entertained.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “They can play some foosball that we have set up, go watch some Luchador wrestling on the TV, and it’s just mix of people, and the food and the drinks just really creates a one of a kind atmosphere.”
While fun is certainly part of the Xaco Taco experience, the food is probably the main reason you’re here. Especially since Executive Chef Andy Pyle has such a passion for authentic Mexican cooking.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “I just love the flavors, I love the freshness, the spiciness, and just everything about Mexican food.”
And making this food the authentic way isn’t just a labor of love, it also happens to require a whole lot of labor.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “Ninety percent of Mexican food is labor so we’re constantly making our fresh salsas, constantly marinating meats, constantly cooking meats. We make guacamole two or three times a day, we make our pico de gallo daily, and I think you can just really taste it in the food.”
Any great taco must start with a great tortilla, so at Xaco Taco, they’re made in house, all day long.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “We source non-GMO, organic masa, we make the masa dough every day. It gets put through this machine. And Carlos is gonna show you how we roll it out. Start it on the flat top, finish it on the grill which gets the tortilla to inflate, which is what makes a tortilla nice and tender. You smell the corn, you smell the freshness, they’re soft, they’re not hard, you can just tell that they’re homemade, and it’s a great vessel for all of our flavorful ingredients.”
And those ingredients combine to make some truly outstanding tacos; like the Al Pastor, with chunks of spit-roasted pork, pineapple, and red and green salsas, Carnitas with juicy braised pork, crispy chicharónes, Cotija cheese, and avocado tomatillo salsa, or the Carne Asada, loaded with citrus marinated steak.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “Carne Asada is by far the best selling taco at Xaco Taco. I think meat lovers rejoice over the fact that they’re eating some steak in a taco.”
And seafood lovers are pretty happy here too; whether they order the Seared Tuna taco with watermelon radish, chipotle mayo, and chia seeds, or the Baja Fish Taco featuring crispy local cod, pickled radish, cabbage, and Serrano crema.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “It’s light, it’s crispy, it’s flavorful. You get the heat, you get the acidity from the pickles, and you get the texture and the freshness from the cabbage, it’s just a pleasure to eat.”
To go along with your tacos, you might want a Margarita, available in a bunch of flavors. And you’ll definitely need some Queso Fundido, a gloriously gooey bowl of melted cheese, spicy chorizo, and roasted poblanos served with those fresh homemade tortillas.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “I’m a big cheese guy. So if you like cheese, queso fundito is absolutely the way to go. The best part about it, you’re gonna take your spoon, you’re gonna pull that cheese up, so you get that nice cheese pull, you’re gonna add it into your tortilla. You’re gonna have a little heat from that chorizo, combined with the sweet heat from the poblano, all that mixed combined is just one enjoyable appetizer everyone has to share.”
And you also have to share some simply delicious Guacamole.
Andy Pyle – Executive Chef, Xaco Taco: “Fresh avocado, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, salt, a little bit of spices, and that’s it.”
Well, that’s not completely it. Because for just a dollar you can add a bit of texture to your guac, in the form of something crispy, crunchy, and slightly creepy.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “The cool thing about our guacamole is you can add chapulines to them, which are grasshoppers here. Literally a grasshopper. They’re very very big in the culture in Mexico. They’re dehydrated, and they add a little lime juice, a little chile powder to them and then we just serve them with our guacamole, it’s really become a conversation piece among guests. A lot of people are like, ‘no, no, no, I don’t want it.’ And then we start to show them it, we show them the grasshopper, and then out of curiosity they start eating them, and then they’re kind of surprised at how they taste. Kind of tastes like a sunflower seed.”
While the grasshoppers might make you bug out, you definitely won’t want to miss out on the Churro Doughnuts for dessert.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “You have to have the churro donuts. So you get five fried churro balls. So think a little bit of a munchkin, a little puffier. Make that batter every day, drop them in the fryer, and as they fry, they puff up, and we toss them in some cinnamon sugar, and we serve that with a spiced Mexican chocolate.”
And from the churros and tacos, to the tortillas and margaritas, a meal here feels a lot like a trip South of the border.
Jeff Shabo – GM, Xaco Taco: “It’s bringing you back to the streets of Mexico. That’s what we try to give our guests, the authenticity. You know if you can’t make it to Mexico, maybe you can make it to Providence Rhode Island and go to Xaco Taco.”
370 Richmond Street
Providence, RI 02903