A native of Guerrero, Mexico, Freddy Sanchez has been the executive chef at Northfield’s uber-popular Happ Inn Bar & Grill for the last few years.
Now, in addition to that gig, he walked across the street and opened the new Taco Nano, a casual, family-friendly tacqueria that focuses on the fresh, intense flavors of Mexico, all wrapped up in a corn tortilla.
Step up past the brightly painted walls, tiles and artwork, check out the menu blackboard, and place your order at the counter. Drink options include Mexican Coke, Jarritos, beer and fresh horchata, a sweetened rice drink that tastes like a cold, liquid version of rice pudding. That’s a good thing!
Tasty, chunky Guacamole ($6.50) is made to order and served with fresh, warm tortilla chips; order it mild, medium or spicy. Quesadillas ($2 each, $3 with chicken), the grilled cheese of Mexico, are perfect for little hands and palates.
There are 8 tacos to choose from, pretty much all winners. I really enjoyed the Turkey Picadillo ($3), a ground turkey filling redolent with onions, garlic, spices and cilantro, topped with crunchy julienned lettuce, pico de gallo, Chihuahua cheese and roasted chipotle-tomato sauce.
Other winners were the Pork al Pastor ($3), shaved, spit-roasted pork served traditionally with onion and pineapple, which had a nice balance of savory and sweet, tempered with little green wheels of fried jalapeno; Pato en Mole Negro ($4), duck cooked carnitas-style (aka confit) and topped with the classic Oaxacan black mole, sesame seeds and pickled onion; and the Sea of Cortez ($3), your choice of beer-battered or blackened tilapia topped with crunchy, vinegary cabbage slaw, spicy chile-morita mayo and a wedge of lime.
Order two tacos and grab a side of Mexican Rice ($2.50), Refried Black Beans ($2.50) or crispy Fried Plantains ($3) and you’ve got a meal.
For a sweet finale, there are two desserts available: Tres Leches Cake or a smooth, eggy Flan (both $5). Or opt instead for the horchata, and head for the door. Service is speedy, the food is fresh, the flavors vibrant. Great for lunch, but they’re open until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. Taco Nano is closed Sunday.
1743 Orchard Lane