Guacamole is a staple of Mexican restaurant menus — which means that, one social media whirlwind about adding peas aside, the dish doesn’t get a lot of innovation. We expect it to come out a certain way, and chefs want to keep us happy because it keeps the margaritas flowing.
But there has been some real experimentation going on at Guac Tacos + Tequila (179 Ave. B, East Village), which appropriately opens on Sept. 16: National Guacamole Day. Vincent Sgarlato, who owns next-door pizza staple Eleven B, is behind the new restaurant. The neighborhood needed a Mexican spot, he says, so he gave it one — “I always say Mexican food is fun, it’s very hard not to enjoy” — and topped the menu with 11 varieties of the crowd-pleasing appetizer.
What I really loved, besides the sampler platter of three guacs ($11.95) so I didn’t have to choose just one, was the contrasts that executive chef Zual Martinez brought to each dish. In the Roasted Corn guac, studs of crispy salted mote corn add a pleasant crunch. The Smoked Chipotle is a smart, subtle play against the creaminess of the avocado. And if you’ve never had bacon in your guacamole, now is the time to start. Each one was totally distinctive, and gave me faith to try the more outre options like Queso Fresco and “Tradicional Scampi” next time I’m in the East Village.
Now that the nights are trending less balmy, the Guac’s wide-open facade makes for the perfect setting to start your night over guac and a Mexican mojito. I can definitely see it disrupting my wine and cheese plate routine this fall.