Photo by Kacey Hertan
This summer, Westport had it’s fair share of trendy, new restaurants. Including options like Terrain and Spotted Horse, residents flocked to farm to- table eateries complete with almost all-organic menus and gourmet freshness. But with all of the hip restaurants that were popular this summer, Bartaco seemed to win over everyone’s hearts, and stomachs.
After opening about three months ago, Bartaco keeps things very busy with a menu mixing traditional Mexican flare with lighter, luxurious flavors. Or, as their Facebook page puts it, “tacos and tequila on the water”.
An outside afternoon meal was the perfect way to appreciate Westport’s beauty by the Saugatuck River at Bartaco on Saturday. The friendly atmosphere was welcoming from the beginning, and the serene blue and white décor, similar to the staff’s fashionable uniforms, invites guests to sit down for a long and enjoyable meal.
A fresh take on ordering, Bartaco uses little cards to choose the dishes you want and a special “Dragonf ly” card, the restaurant’s logo, as a sign for assistance. These numerous instructions of how to order were overwhelming at first but resulted in pleasingly efficient service and a playful part of our meal.
The menu presented many tacos, of course, tamales, other small-plate style tastes, and was dotted with classics updated to have a Mexican twist such as the Chile Slaw. We settled on ordering the Chicken and Pork Tamales, lime and cojita corn, several tacos, the Chicken Rice Bowl, stewed beans, and the Chile Slaw.
The food came out promptly, within 15 minutes of ordering. From the first bite of perfectly seasoned chicken taco, we could taste the authenticity. The few simple ingredients of the Chicken Taco combined seamlessly. The Curry Shrimp Taco was no exception; it boasted a wonderful combination of textures and expertly mixed flavors. In addition, the Chicken Rice Bowl tasted like authentic paella with creamy rice, fresh peppers, and the same flavorful chicken from the tacos.
Disappointingly, the Chicken Tamale was a bit dry and lacking in flavor, but the Pork Belly Tamale was filled with succulent meat and had a luscious corn shell. Even those not typically fans of pork enjoyed this meal because of its excellent preparation.
Bartaco’s modern vibe not only shines in the food, but also the atmosphere and staff. There are several Staples students, adding to the young demeanor of the restaurant. In a phone conversation with Bartaco’s manager, Phillip, it was evident that Staples students had a large part of Bartaco’s staff. Some of the students who had worked or are working at the restaurant included Bailey Valente ’13, Matt Mula ’13, Alanna Zavoico ’14, and Ben Root ’12.
With flavorful food, fun service, and a fresh vibe, Bartaco has certainly added to Westport’s food scene. Bartaco’s flavorful food, fashionable decor, and prime location on the river make it the perfect place for Westport Residents to enjoy the town’s beauty and some great food!