Chef Greg Daniels’ fancy take on the street taco is not only creative, but a delicious way to sample international flavors from the palm of your hand.
Taco Asylum, located at 2937 S. Bristol St. in Costa Mesa has menu options that vary from land and sea to field and farm. Each taco features a hand made tortilla and the cost is $5 to $6.
Why tacos? According to kitchen manager Christy Henry, the concept started at Daniels’ flagship restaurant, Haven Gastropub in the Orange circle, where the short rib taco was a very popular menu item. So popular in fact, that people started asking him for more like it.
“We are trying to re-invent the taco, starting from that first one and see what we can come up with,” said Henry.
The start of it all and most often ordered item is the short rib taco with pickled red onion, salsa verde, cojita cheese and cilantro.
Check out the duck taco, which has Camembert cheese, Dijon crème fraiche and fried purple fingerling potato chips. It has a rich taste, with great balance. The vegetarian options are a savory wild mushroom, falafel and an Indian paneer.
The adventurous option on the menu is the ghost chili pork. The ghost chili is not spicy, it is very hot. Do not mix more than one of the house made hot sauces together with this taco; it can quickly become too intense.
The meal deal at taco asylum is the sampler. The sampler includes a mini version of the top eight tacos (everything minus the ghost chili) on the menu for $18. Although small, the tacos can be filling. It is a good option for first time visitors to get a little bite of everything.
Micro Brew and import beer as well as wine are on the menu and the staff can help with pairing recommendations. Fresh juice is available alongside a wide range of teas and specialty soda.
Secrets: Happy Hour comes twice a day during the week, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Specialty tacos make appearances, but just as long the ingredients are in stock. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Hint: The food can be drippy, so napkins are your friend.