Saturday, May 12, 2012

Latin House Burger & Taco Bar

I'm starting this off with blunt honesty and no shame at all: I am freaking hooked on Latin House Burger & Taco Bar! I have been here 3 times in short time this place has been open. The fact that it's so darn close to my house is a double edged sword. It's awesome because I can pop in at any time without dealing with Miami's brutal traffic, yet it's killing me because my frequent flyer status will eventually lead to a nice little muffin top (ha!) and the fat girl to come out where she is not welcome!

Visit number 1 was great: hubby and I popped in late on a random Thursday night and had no complaints, which is rare for a new place since they are always working out a few kinks here and there. The place is pretty badass - love the decor, plain but edgy, the wall art is sick! I wish they would dim the lights a bit to give it a cozier feel, but overall the decor is on the money. My only complaint on this visit is that they still didn't have their booze license up and running but the taps were visible which made my mouth water for my favorite beer, Purple Haze. I wish I would've known of the BYOB status at the time, but that just made me want to come back.

Service was great. Our waitress hustled and took great care of us. She knew the menu well and was able to make good recommendations. The chef came by and personally greeted us and thanked us for stopping by, which was so nice since it shows hospitality and appreciation. Speaking of the menu - they offer a good variety of tacos, burritos, burgers, etc. It's small but loaded with options, which I can appreciate since I am a quality not quantity kinda gal. They offer a wide selection of craft brews on draft. I knew what I wanted so didn't ask for samples, but I saw them giving others little shot glasses to try. Sweet touch!

We started off with the Queso Fondu which came out bubbling (see bubbles in pic, wish I had a video) and very fragrant. The tortilla chips were fresh and crisp. The cheese itself was ooey gooey and very flavorful. I found it a bit greasy for my taste but I told my conscience to zip it and wolfed it down regardless.

Next up - we decided to take it easy and just order some tacos since it was late and we were already sinning by eating out on a weekday. We each ordered 4 to get a taste of as many flavors as possible: Cilantro-Lime Chicken, Chorizo, Cabo Wabo, Carne Asada, & Fire House Shrimp. They also offer a Veggie, Ribeye Steak and Calamari. (Please note picture below is missing pico and lettuce on some as I don't like fresh veggies on anything.)

All of the tacos were awesome. Seriously. Carne Asada's meat was tender and juicy, the seasoning on the cilantro-lime chicken was tangy and herby, the chorizo had a nice kick to it but was a tad greasy (I found the culprit for the cheese!) however avocado lime crema added a cooling factor which was amazeballs. Now - this is where I declare my love. My husband and I had it out over which taco rocked more - Cabo Wabo or Fire House Shrimp. My fat little heart was torn. I was a bit apprehensive when my tacos came loaded with cabbage. As I said, I hate veggies. However, I decided to be a daredevil and just go with it. Holy Moses - cabbage, where have you been all my life? The subltle sweetness, the crunch, wow! Love. The fish on the Cabo Wabo was perfectly crispy but still flaky and delicious inside. The batter truly is perfection. The shrimp was lightly battered, dressed in a tangy but oh-so-sweet sauce that made my mouth confused like a drunk tourist taking tequila shots in Cancun. Damnit! Damnit it all! I couldn't decide which one I loved more.

From left: Fire House Shrimp, Chorizo, Cabo Wabo, Carne Asada
Carne Asada close-up - avocado lime crema is out of control

I asked about dessert and our waitress described the balls to us - THE BALLS! These little things must be was the phrase HOLY BALLS comes from, as they must have been (or should be) blessed by the Pope. Geez. Chunks of brownie dipped in cake batter and deep fried, topped with leche condensada and powdered sugar. It was incredible. My husband opposed to me ordering such a sinful dish at such a late hour but didn't say a peep and we scarfed it down like it was our last meal on earth. It came paired with a crunchy substance which I came to find out was jicama when the chef saw the confused look on my face and hollered at me from the bar. The jicama was tangy and crunchy and added a nice touch to the overall creaminess of the dish.

And with that - we left full and happy and destined to return.

Visit number two was prompted by a Facebook post sharing their Heat game special "$2 off beers and $2 tacos" which lead to an insatiable craving for Cabo Wabos and Purple Haze. Off we went for another awesome meal and great service. The chef came up to us again to greet us and a lady who I assume is the manager came by to check on us a few times. These people know service is key. It's nice to be remembered and greeted personally, this kind of service is a lost art.

I had a Purple Haze and hubs a UFO. Both were ice cold, frothy and delicious.

I discovered that Purple Haze and Cabo Wabo's should get married and have babies since they work so perfectly together.

This time I ordered my two favorites - 2 Cabo Wabos and 2 Fire House Shrimp tacos. And this this I forgot to skip the pico and again, was pleasantly surprised at why I have been skipping such an important component for so long.

We decided to skip the balls this time but were told by staff that they are currently working on a few exclusive desserts with Sweetness Bakeshop right next door. I can't wait to see what the masterminds of indulgent desserts and Lating House Grill will come up with.

Visit number 3 was completely unplanned and very short. My friend texted that she was finally trying the place after seeing my reviews. Coincidentally, I was in the same shopping center getting beautified and she invited me over for a beer. How could I resist? I flip-flopped over with toe spacers in and all and enjoyed a cold Purple Haze... and with that visit, I proudly earned this title on Yelp...

Latin House Burger & Taco Bar
9565 SW 72 Street
Miami, FL 33173

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