Tortaco is not a Mexican restaurant. It's not Tex-Mex, either. Although the restaurant menu is generally based on items that come in a sandwich called a torta or in a tortilla as a taco, that's where the lesson in Spanish ends.
"We've got Italian, Korean ... we're all over," says executive chef Nico Sanchez. Your torta might come layered with steak and gruyere, or burnt ends and avocado.
Yes, the chef here is serving burnt ends inside a taco. Barbecue people, you hearing this?
The menu is decidedly diverse. "Here, there's no limits," Sanchez says.
He has experience creating menus that are more focused, such as the one at Mexican restaurants Meso Maya. (Tortaco is owned by Firebird Restaurant Group, a parent company that also operates El Fenix, Snuffer's Restaurant and Bar and Taqueria La Ventana.)
The Ross Avenue Tortaco is Dallas' first, though another Tortaco opened in Fort Worth less than two months ago. Company leaders say, for now, they'll pause on opening more Tortacos right now.
Beyond Tortaco's tortas and tacos, it has some carb-friendlier menu items in the "bowls" section. One comes with pork and kimchi; another has yellowtail and squash, sweet potato and pineapple. All of the bowls at Tortaco come with jasmine rice made in serrano broth.
Tortaco in downtown Dallas opened Nov. 17 on Ross Avenue, where fine dining chef Stephan Pyles once operated Samar, then San Salvaje. Tortaco looks nothing like either former restaurant; it has an upscale biker bar feel, with a motorcycle parked inside and chains hanging above the bar.
Its sprawling patio feels like a fun spot to people watch.
Tortaco is located at 2100 Ross Ave, Dallas. Open seven days a week. For now, servers will give away free bites of food from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays. During that time, Stinky Inky cocktails (a blueberry-strawberry rum drink) cost $5; draft beers cost $4.