Today you can spot Southern-inspired tacos at every turn, the latest being Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere's ATL Taco (3393 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-841-7559, atl-taco.com). Tucked into a quiet Lenox Square cranny, the newcomer offers fried catfish with comeback sauce; a ground-beef and queso "cheeseburger" taco; a hot chicken taco, etc. Like so many taquerias, ATL Taco would be well served to griddle its tortillas before topping them.
Heirloom Market BBQ’s tacos are made with smoked, gochujang-marinated pork and dressed with kimchi slaw, jalapeño, cilantro and spicy Korean barbecue sauce. CONTRIBUTED BY HEIRLOOM MARKET BBQ
Pig and cabbage are two of the most versatile components in the freewheeling, cross-sampling taco universe. You can easily see a link between American barbecue and slaw and the Korean pork and kimchi tacos that have started to border on the banal. (Talking to you, Takorea.) At Heirloom Market BBQ (2243 Akers Mill Road SE, Atlanta. 770-850-1008, heirloommarketbbq.com), chefs Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee make some of Atlanta's best tacos. They hack up their heavenly smoked meats and top them with kimchi, spicy Korean barbecue sauce, cilantro and jalapeño. These generously dressed beauties sit on a double layer of super-soft soft corn tortillas — El Milagro brand but they taste hand-made. The obvious choice here is the gochujang-marinated pork, but I also really dig this taco with Heirloom's intensely smoky brisket. Happily, they let you mix and match.
Yumbii has expanded from food trucks to a Buckhead storefront where easy, casual lunch can be enjoyed on their small patio or in the store. Asian rib-eye beef tacos are a classic Yumbii option available. CONTRIBUTED BY JENNI GIRTMAN / ATLANTA EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY
Yumbii (1927 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-975-3444, yumbii.com), a purveyor of Mexican-Asian fusion tacos, arrived on the scene in 2010 as a food truck, making it Atlanta's answer to L.A. chef Roy Choi's Kogi. I enjoy stopping by Yumbii's brick-and-mortar, which opened last year, for decent Asian rib-eye and panko-crusted fried tilapia tacos, though I wouldn't mind a lighter touch with the romaine, guys.
Taqueria Tsunami offers 13 tacos combining Asian and Latin favors. Among the best from our visit to the Roswell Road location are (clockwise from top) Korean barbecue short rib with cucumber salad; Vietnamese pork with Asian slaw; and Baja-style tempura-fried fish with Asian slaw and Sriracha mayo. Also shown are a side of tater tots with queso dipping sauce and the house margarita. CONTRIBUTED BY WENDELL BROCK
Billing itself as a Latin-Asian kitchen, Taqueria Tsunami (multiple locations, taqueriatsunami.com) has 13 tacos on the menu, with influences as disparate as Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Korea and Hawaii. A tsunami, indeed. I like the Baja (tempura-fried fish, Asian slaw, and Sriracha mayo) and the Korean-style short rib, topped with a stack of crisp pickled cucumbers. The Rising Sun is where the metaphors get really mixed. Though the name would seem to be a reference to Japan, the menu specifies Vietnamese pork and Asian slaw. Yet the chopped, smoky 'cue was more the stuff of Southern pig pulls than lemongrass and garlic marinade. That said, Tsunami (which has locations in Atlanta, Roswell, Marietta, Woodstock and Athens) is a solid operation that makes delicious tacos at a good value.
For the 2018 AJC Spring Dining Guide, we sat down with some of the leaders in Atlanta’s new fusion revolution. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)
This brings us to Gwinnett's Strange Taco Bar (225 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-869-5220, Facebook: Strange Taco Bar), which builds some of the most dazzling fusion tacos I've had. Though the kitchen could stand to tone down some of the seasonings (the "jerk cream" sauce and wasabi aioli, for instance), it uses high-quality ingredients to come up with some real winners — like migas (scrambled egg with pepper jack, pico and tortilla strips); braised lamb (with cucumber, pickled red onion and a cilantro-cream sauce that reads like Middle Eastern yogurt); and ginger-braised duck. Never met a Strange Taco I didn't like.
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