On Friday evening, I attended a preview party for the upcoming MESTIZA TAQUERIA in SoMa, and when it opens at the end of this month, you’re going to be happy about that. The owner is Deanna Sison Foster (Farmerbrown, Little Skillet, Victory Hall & Parlor), who is working with consulting chef Sophina Uong (Calavera, Revival Bar & Kitchen, Picán, 900 Grayson).
The name Mestiza, which means mixed culture or heritage, gives you a clear hint about what’s going on with the street food-inspired menu. It’s like a Mexican taqueria, with flavors and ingredients from the Philippines, plus Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some tacos on the potential lineup include Filipino pork adobo with ginger salsa cruda and achara; Khmer lemongrass chicken with serrano-avocado crema, peanuts, pink onions, pickled Fresno chiles; and Thai red curry beef with pineapple-arbol chile salsa, roast shrimp powder, coconut flakes, basil. And for $1 more, you can have the tacos in a queso shell. Uh-huh.
Some more straightforward options are carne asada, hongos y rajas (shiitake and oyster mushrooms, rajas, Spanish onions, eggplant salsa negro, avocado crema, pink onions, radish sprouts), and grilled rock cod (with pineapple-arbol chile salsa, Spanish onion salad, and cilantro). All tacos will range from $3.50-$4.
There are also tostadas (vegetarian or Gulf shrimp), a chopped salad, mixto bowls with a choice of protein and garlic rice (yes!), ceviches, and pulutan (Filipino finger food, like pork adobo empanadas, lechón, and sweet plantains). There will be housemade beverages (including cinnamon horchata, pineapple ginger, cucumber mint, and hibiscus watermelon aquas frescas), a well-selected beer program with seven to nine taps, a tight wine selection, and low-ABV beer and wine cocktails, like a pineapple sangrita, tamarind michelada, and a calamansi lime shandy.
It’s opening in the former Chavo’s, although you’ll hardly recognize it now. The outdoor patio is like an island beer garden and features a stunning floral mural by Jet Martinez, with plenty of plants and live edge wood tables, perfect for groups. The interior is full of more plants and has an easy tropical vibe.
Another thing to look forward to: in late summer, Mestiza Taqueria will also host a community of chefs and entrepreneurs through a series of pop-up dinners in collaboration with SoMa Pilipinas.
Hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, and eventually will ramp up with weekend brunch Sat-Sun 10am-4pm. Look for an opening in late Feb—will keep you posted! Follow along on Instagram. 595 Bryant St. at 4th St.
The tropical and plant-filled interior of Mestiza Taqueria. Photo courtesy of Mestiza.